There was an interesting question posed by 106.7 the Fan’s Danny Rouhier on his show Saturday afternoon about Kobe Bryant. He asked the listeners their opinions on whether or not Kobe Bryant was done winning championship rings.
Danny argued that Kobe, as a closer, is not as solid as he is often implied as by the media. After looking at the numbers myself, I have to agree with him. Kobe, in my opinion might not win another championship ring in his career.
While it does have a lot to do with his inability to close out games lately, it really has more to do with his surroundings in L.A. And oddly enough, John Wall is facing that same problem right now in D.C.
In L.A., a defensively driven body in Metta World Peace, a rebound-hog in Pau Gaol, and an all-around man in Andrew Bynum surround Kobe Bryant. But the thing is, this is not the same team that won the 2009 and 2010 NBA Championships.
He is stuck in L.A. with mostly the same team, but now that they are constantly injured, behaviorally challenged, and unable to perform when it matters the most. Kobe has this 2011-2012 team’s responsibilities placed solely on him. And because of these extra duties, he has gotten all the blame when the cards don’t fall the Lakers’ way; which, in turn, could be clouding his attention, and even how much he really cares anymore knowing that this isn’t a championship-caliber team.
Come East towards Washington D.C., and John Wall is facing the exact same challenge. Whenever John Wall has an off game, it seems to stretch into a few more games after that. But look at the supporting cast he has (and has had to deal with). The Wizards’ roster has faced the same challenges that the Lakers have faced, but just on a much lower competitive level.
After the trade for Nene, John Wall saw significant improvements in his game from much more than just a box-score standpoint. He stopped running over people in the free court, he was able to finish drives without getting a charge, but also knew when to dish the ball to the big man down low.
But when you’re in an atmosphere like both Wall and Bryant are, it’s going to be difficult to compete to everyone’s expectations. As everyone has seen with Lebron James, there’s only so much one man can do.
And when that one man is pushed to the brink of realizing that, there’s only so much that one man can care until something is done. And until that atmosphere is changed, don’t expect anything better from either player.