Kobe Bryant’s 20th season in the NBA hasn’t gotten off to a good start.
Kobe had harsh words for himself after his poor showings in the first three games of the Lakers this season, ESPN reports.
Mr. Bryant was so frustrated with himself that he harshly criticized himself in front of reporters after the Lakers’ 103-93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Sunday night, marking the team’s third consecutive loss. In Sunday’s game, Kobe Bryant dropped 15 points on 3-of-15 shooting.
The video interview with Kobe was posted on Lakers.com, where he said:
“I’m the 200th best player in the league right now. I freaking suck.”
This is interesting given how Bryant responded to player rankings in the past. When asked what he thought of rankings, he referred to them as “silly” and “laughable.” Before the season started, Sports Illustrated ranked Kobe Bryant as the 54th best player in the league, while ESPN ranked him no. 93 in their #NBArank project.
With three games played so far in the current season, Kobe Bryant is averaging 17.3 points per game, only making 31-percent (16-of-51) of his shots, including 20-percent (6-of-29) from 3-point range. Bryant shot 2 of 8 against Dallas from behind the three-point arc on Sunday night.
Kobe Bryant, after the Lakers’ 132-114 loss against Sacramento Kings on Friday, admitted that he will need to defer to his teammates, particularly second overall pick D’Angelo Russell and 2014 first round pick Julius Randle.
“Can’t do it. Got to let them develop.”
“It’s difficult,” Bryant added. But it has to be done.”
This is surprising, given Kobe’s knack for taking over games throughout his entire career. But then again, the five-time NBA champion isn’t getting younger either, as he’s currently 37 years old.
Julius Randle was the bright spot amidst the Lakers’ three consecutive losses. In Sunday’s game, Julius scored 22 points, with 15 rebounds, four assists, and four steals in a losing effort.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott, when interviewed about Kobe Bryant’s current struggles, was at a loss for words.
“I don’t know,” Scott said. “I know he’s not happy with it. He’s disappointed with the way he’s shooting the ball. He’s playing hard. He’s competing just like he always does. I think it’s a matter of time.”
Byron also said that Kobe Bryant being sidelined for two weeks due to a lower leg bruise might have “set him back.”
“He’s just trying to get that feel back again,” Scott added.
Kobe Bryant, however, isn’t making excuses. When asked about his poor shooting, he didn’t put the blame on any injuries, fatigue, or poor shot selection.
“Maybe. Just playing like s— right now, that’s all,” Bryant said. “I’m getting the shots I want. Just got to make them.”
When asked on how the Lakers can get out of their current slump, Kobe Bryant became self-critical again.
“Well, if I could make a damn shot, that would help. I suck right now,” he said.
Byron Scott said that Bryant is the type of player who can contribute to a team’s success even without making a lot of shots.
“You’ve still got to respect him out there, period. No matter what.”
The Lakers’ three consecutive losses can’t be laid on Kobe Bryant alone, however. Byron said after the game that the team’s poor defense was partly to blame, as reported by Complex.
“We just sucked,” Scott said of theteam’s defense. “Simple as that. I’ve never seen 80 points in the paint in a game.” He added, “Again, we started off real soft. They started off real aggressive. They came up, they picked us up 94 feet. We were careless with the ball. From that point on, it seemed to go downhill.”
The Los Angeles Lakers have a tough schedule ahead of them. They’ll be facing the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on Tuesday night before going on a five-game road trip.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]