Players throw temper tantrums in practice all the time. Practices often contain dressing-downs from coaches, which can raise tempers, and scrimmages can get heated. It’s a contentious atmosphere for even the most even-keeled and successful outfits.
The Los Angeles Lakers are not successful, nor are they even-keeled. They’re a poorly constructed team that many think was cobbled together in order to tank the season so as to hang onto the rights to its 2015 NBA draft pick. The problem with this set is that the Lakers still boast Kobe Bryant, the league’s highest-paid player and leading scorer. He’s in his twilight years and could retire in 19 months, and the dude wants to win now.
On Thursday, in full view of assembled media, Kobe appeared to lose his you-know-what after practice:
With media and the team’s general manager there. Yikes.
Kobe Bryant loves playing the martyr nearly as much as he loves winning ballgames, so it was expected that the Kobester could ride out another tough Laker year as the league’s most worried-about player. All it takes is one 30-foot shot from Nick Young, a clang from Robert Sacre or a missed defensive rotation from Carlos Boozer for us to feel sorry for the guy. Even if he is shooting 39 percent and playing terrible defense of his own.
Bryant is just 31 points away from overtaking Michael Jordan for the third spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with the Lakers set to play the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. This should be a time to celebrate his accomplishments, and instead we’re wondering about the relative worth of his teammates and whether the Lakers should lose every game on purpose.
I’d put the over/under on Kobe field goal attempts at around 50 for Friday night, and the champion Spurs will happily watch Bryant toss ‘em up.
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