Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Kobe Bryant on Adam Morrison and role players playing their role

With 7:24 remaining in the fourth quarter of last night's 110-99 win over the New Orleans Hornets, contestAdam Morrison goes after a loose ball well in hand, Adam Morrison held the ball at the top of the circle, surveying the court to see what was developing. Nobody immediately open, shot clock ticking down and the Staples faithful egging him on to shoot, Ammo eventually drove the lane and made string music on an ugly-but-effective left-handed layup.

From the corner of my eye, I noticed Kobe Bryant leap up from the bench and bark words in Morrison's direction. When starters react in such fashion, it's usually because they're excited to see the third string make hay during their rare burn.  After all, guys like Ammo, DJ Mbenga, Sasha Vujacic and Josh Powell work very hard in practice without always reaping the rewards of in-game action.  But as I learned upon asking about his animated display, Kobe's wasn't responding to a feel-good moment. This was about reinforcing a game plan:

"It's me encouraging him and reminding him that I want him to do what he does best, which is score. Defensively, we'll provide help for him and in certain (other) areas. And he'll put forth the effort defensively. But on the offensive end, we try to put guys in situations that maximize their potential. We're not going to ask him to go out there and be Lamar Odom, be a facilitator. That's not what he does best."

I found the phrasing of Kobe's answer interesting on two levels. For starters, the way Kobe labeled placing players in situations that maximize potential a "we" thing. "We" as in, "the coaching staff." "We" as in, "the franchise." And "we" as in "Kobe Bryant, the most important member of the Lakers and, to a sizable degree, an extension of Phil Jackson." This is what "we" do. A unified front on a philosophy, enforced by the highest members of the food chain. In a recent 710 ESPN PodKast with Jalen Rose ,the player-turned-analyst noted how elite franchises have "systems." A plan that forges an identity easily recognized by players, coaches and front office. Not every team has a system. The Lakers do, and Kobe's answer was reflective of said system in place.  Never underestimate the value of everyone being "on message."

I also liked Kobe's comments because they express awareness of a teammate's weaknesses- in Morrison's case, defense- while acknowledging that AM's shortcomings aren't the result of poor effort, but rather unavoidable limitations. It's often difficult for elite players to wrap their heads around the notion that everyone can't be as good as them. Period. And not for a lack of trying. Kobe's candidness about Morrison's lock down abilities doesn't come off as critical. Frankly, it's nothing Ammo hasn't admitted on his own. That assessment is just a matter of fact observation, coupled with positive words about what Morrison can and should do, along with an appreciation of those potential contributions and a teammate's strident work.

Wise words from Kobe, who's continuing to mature as a leader.

AK

 
Comments () | Archives (39)

The comments to this entry are closed.

The mark of a true leader is to be able to bring people to maximize thier potential, on and off the court.

"Wise words from Kobe, who's continuing to mature as a leader."

I disagree, Kobe's been mature as a leader for a while now, its the rest of the world that thinks he hasn't. The league doesn't have a player at his maturity level. If he matures any more he'd be grandpa Moses.

That statement is like "taking the Lakers to the next level", just what level is there after winning the championship?

P Ang,

Putting aside that your response runs counter to everything Kobe himself often says about how he's continuing to grow as a leader and it's his biggest area of learning (I think he'd know), why would you even want to marginalize him that way? Basically, you're saying that Kobe can't possibly evolve further, which is both incorrect and totally limiting. Or that he wouldn't strive to do so? In an unnecessary effort to "stick up" for Kobe, you're really just undercutting great effort in his part.

AK

I think the reason people see him as "NOT" a leader is that, we tend to equate leadership on the court as dishing out assist or passing the ball instead of shooting, high-fiving/screaming rather than egging them to practice longer and harder.

People tend to value those things instead of looking at how players become responsible and really push themselves to perform.

Well for all of Kobe's 'interview skills and polish' I've long felt he's actually quite honest and straightforward with a lot of the things he says.It seems like he comes from a certain place of analysis or intelligence and then a bunch of people sieze it and take it the wrong way.

Not that he's always been perfect and naturally he gives media friendly answers and is concerned about his image but there often is some depth to what he says.Its funny when you get a guy like Lebron who gives fairly bland stock standard interviews and Kobe gets criticised for doing just that when it is clear he doesn't.

I think some of his problems have been caused by his being too honest and answering too intelligently and people have then misunderstood or twisted things.

After watching the clip of Kobe putting the ball in from behind the backboard my girlfriend said 'The thing that is most impressive about Kobe is that he just doesn't stop.He just doesn't give up' The evidence of this was actually on the clip as he immediately started berrating the referee for not calling a foul after hitting a miraculous shot. It hit home that as much as we hear this stuff about certain players never giving up etc - in Kobe's case,if you really think about it, this is what actually defines him in every sense.Marketing aside, that much is real.

I think and hope that will become Kobe's legacy.

Yesterday a local TV showed the 81 point game. And it just blew my mind off seeing our starting five. Smush, Kwame, Devan, Odom - these players cannot even crack the regular rotation on other teams except Odom perhaps. And yet Kobe lead them all the way to the playoff twice. They performed way above what they were and are able to produce before and after they became Kobe's teammate. Smush is out of the league, Kwame is being kwame in Detriot, Devan George is - well I am not sure where he is. Mihm is out the league...Cook is... nevermind.

That era speaks volume of Kobe's leadership in terms of output. No one star could bring that starting five even a scent of the playoff, not even the great MJ, however great he is. They couldn't make an acceptable pass, couldn't finish at the rim or a play, couldn't finish a layup, couldn't catch an interior pass, inept at running the triangle, even their fastbreak plays was horrible.

MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLE HILL JUST BECAUSE KOBE USED A WORD "WE".

To be frank I did not find any sacred or a hidden message in 'we" as lot of folks sometimes use "we" in place of 'I".

Too much spare time to mull over nothing.


HEY LAKER FANS,

We need a website to promote our Lakers in the ALL-STAR GAME. We need and COULD get Kobe, Gasol, Bynum,and Artest/Odom. Make it happen if you claim to be a Laker fan! GO VOTE.

The general public may not be ready for this, but this Laker team has more veteran leadership than any Laker team since the Showtime era, and it bodes well for the challenges they face this year.

They are in the John Wooden zone, where they aren't competing against opponents, they are competing against themselves to fulfill their potential.

There is something special going on with these guys. Very special and it doesn't happen that often.

A lot of you don't seem to pay attention to spelling, grammar, tenses, etc.

Well, just look what happens when you say "bad lay" instead of "bad lie."

I was really impressed with Ammo last night. Our second string was awful and scattered. His getting gassed on D reflected a total lack of coordination on those around him. That lack of team consciousness is what really made it garbage time.

Most of Ammo's shots did not fall. But he showed an ability to create his own shots, to create off the dribble. When the clock was winding down and no help was forthcoming, he went to work. That showed confidence. It showed that, if he got more comfortable, he could be the offensive threat he was in the D - league. He is not another dear-in-the-headlights like Sun Yue. He has potential. And right now, we need some potential to be realized with the second unit.

But like Kobe said, that potential requires a team mentality that recognizes roles and abilities and plays to those strengths. What he said is very, very key. If the Lakers want to win another championship, they need a competent second unit. The seconds are now playing with zero coordination or calm on offense or defense. I believe that once the second unit can become, as Kobe said, a "we," a team playing within a system, we should be okay. But the five individuals scrambling for their own glory will NOT GET IT DONE. That is the very definition of garbage time. It led to tons of defensive breakdowns last night. It led to Ammo having to go one on one against the opposition.

Second unit take note!!! We cannot win another championship with starters needing to reenter every fourth quarter to rebuild the lead. We won't have such big cushions to deflate against quality teams. Kobe's thoughts are key to our repeat.

GOOoooOOOO LAKERS !!!!

Speaking of Ammo...

how come he's the best athlete during the summer league?
how come he is the best shooter during laker practices?
how come he was the go-to-guy during his Gonzaga college stint?

This player is different from Sasha because he has history of excellence. During his 1st year in NBA, he has a double digit ppg.

It is about motivation and believing on his capabilities. It is about setting him up on his favorite spot like what Kobe said. Kobe has a knack on who are good players and who are forever scrubs. I remember when Kobe get amused by J-Critt whenever he is on the floor. You could also see his reaction with Shannon Brown.

However, it is different with PJ, he sticks solely with his triangle. These are one of the weaknesses of PJ why he is not known for developing youth or rookies in making them believe of themselves. Most of his players are already talented when they play with him. He forces every player to his triangular concept, could not think outside of that shape. Well, who can argue with a winner if your name is just Adam Morrison? Adam is now with the wolves and he is just one of the time scavengers fishing for p/t. Ammo totally lost his confidence of himself. His fear of PJ evolved to disrespecting his own capabilities. He has conditioned himself to be as 3rd stringer, garbage player, taco defender, set-up player for farmar, shannon and sasha. He is bidding time of that ticking clock that he'll surely be cut by second half.

He is one hell good shooter who has been totally wasted because he could not catch up with the Superstars. Put him back in D'League or Summer League or NCAA, he'll be again a scoring leader.

Johnny P,

In order to develop the 2nd unit, they need at least two starters among the best four players namely: Kobe, Pau, Bynum and Ron-Ron. If they are treated 2nd unit per se (including the favorite Jon K 2nd unit wonder, Luke Walton) they will fail miserably against any other teams. Why? Because the advantages of the triangle does not work with the athleticism of the 2nd unit players, there is no super athlete to double in this bench mob. With the presence of Kobe or Gasol, there is a threat of inside and outside, so the double teaming frees up Shannon or Farmar or Powell. The same with Artest and Bynum. Artest is equivalent of two 2nd unit players in defense and Bynum is equivalent of two 2nd unit players in offense.

Now let us set aside hating...just think objectively. Will you double team Luke Walton or any of the 2nd unit?

Edwin my friend - I have to respectfully disagree with you on one point - I don't think PJ's the guy who's responsible for Ammo losing his confidence. That dubious distinction belongs to Larry Brown.

Dave M,

Actually both of them. Larry Brown started him well on his first year and then Ammo got injured and never recovered from that injury. It went into his head and his shooting slump is similar to what Sasha is experiencing. To compound the problem, he is slow in defense maybe, conscious of that injury happening again. Because Bobcats are far contending for the playoffs, GM & Larry made Ammo & Shannon expendable for Vlade. Now he has no time to wait for Vlade too or else he will be fired again, so trade again for Stephen Jackson.

With PJ, it is either you put up or just sit down, because he has tremendous line up from the first 8th players, he leaves Ammo to the assistant coaches to be a project player. If he does not see any progress within five minutes of playing time, he is destined for another 5 minutes in the next garbage time. Will he ever try them to be one of the starters. No way Dave, that's college stuff. Now in NCAA scenario like what Coach Howland is doing with his Bruins, the situation is totally different he has no alternative but to make his players believe on themselves. He gives them a role where they can excel. He makes Lorenzo Mata a star center. lol!

I guess that is the nature of NBA, there is no time to babysit players on their 2nd and 3rd year, it is either you sink or swim. Nobody will wait for you. I just believe that this guy has talent but lacks the courage or guts to get into the open.

Why is everyone turning on Sasha? He's a shooting guard; his job is to shoot. What do you expect him to do. How can he get in a rhythm if one Phil Jackson continues to bury him on the bench? Why is Phil wasting Buss's $5 million a year paying Sasha to sit on the bench. Buss could be spending that money on a years worth of ultra prime exotic hoes. What did Sasha do to Phil anyway, flirt with Jeanne?

Free Sasha.

Nets still on their way to 0-82.

Edwin - I hear what you're saying, but playing devil's advocate, I'd offer this: Ammo came to us halfway through the year season last year. Phil said he'd lost his confidence and he just wanted to let him hang out and learn the system. He only played in 8 games, for 5.5 mpg. This season, he's already played in 12 games for 8 mpg. Granted it's garbage time and the increase in minutes is best described as baby steps. Still, he's being given some (slight though it may be) opportunity to get himself involved again. I was a huge fan of Ammo when he was in college - the guy played with true passion and hustle and it resulted in his #3 pick. For the various reasons that have been mentioned, he's largely lost his way in the NBA. At this point, it's up to him to find his way back. He's got to use those 8 minutes per game as a gift. If he can dedicate himself to the moments given him, then perhaps he can get to 10 minutes per game and then maybe to 12. There's a lot of good players out there who aren't playing at all right now, plenty of guys who's kill for 8-12 minutes of garbage time with the world champions. Anyway, lets just hope for the best, for Ammo's sake and for the teams as well.

Edwin,

"Precisely, this is the reason why we should not glorify our athletes. Admire their talents but don't expect too much from it outside the realm of their specialty."

Exactly. Too many people want to put these athletes and politicians on pedestals, when in fact, they're mere mortals, just like the rest of us.

"If Tiger Woods chose to have many girlfriends, so what? Moses has more than 100 wives."

What?! I recall Moses having 10 Commandments, but not 100 wives :)

LeBron 50-50 on dunk contest, is it possible that he does not want to face SKYWALKER SHANNON BROWN: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4707966

Dave M,

I consider him a junk player too when he joined the Lakers. In fact, he was the marquee player in the trade and yet Shannon outshone him with his tremendous leap in the hemisphere.

However, what bothers me was his performance during the Summer League wherein he was not under pressure or severe duress by an uncomfortable coach. He turned out to be the consistent highest pointer. During practices, PJ applaud him as the best shooter. When he gets to the game with the 2nd unit, he suddenly disappear totally out of whack as if he was destined as a scrub .

I just have a theory Dave like what we discovered with Farmar and Shannon that if they are mixed with Kobe, Gasol, Artest or Bynum, they become a better player. His outstanding perimeter shooting may re-appear again and we'll need that during the playoffs. Imagine if this Ammo and Powell could contribute in the playoffs, then there is 10 deep with lots of possible combination compared to relying only w/ 8 players. At this young season, when Lakers are leading by 20 pts., I think that is the time to experiment some combination to develop players with laden potentials. I'm just toying the idea, supposing PJ uses a project player and combined him with the 4 starters at the start of 2nd half, these project players are Powell and/or Morrison, how will they perform? What is the use of winning 72 games (or in the case of LakerTom's idea of 79 wins) if by playoff time those 8 deep are over worked or slightly injured.

Playoffs is the real NBA season, teams were already filtered. the first part of the season is just settling for court advantage, for enhancing revenues and bragging rights on who is the MVP; the first five in defense etc. I remember the time when the Dallas has the best record during the season, then got eliminated on the 1st round. Remember Riles during the Showtime, he overworked Magic during practices and season games, by playoff time, his hammy gave way, maybe it could also be coincidence.

Of course, we don't have a better basketball minds than PJ, well at least that is the purpose of a blog it is not only use for cheer leading on what is working but adding morel suggestions and ideas thrown in the open, no matter how silly or stupid they can be? and it is up to the coach to use them or junk them.

EJK,

Moses lived for 120 years but their computation of years were not based on Gregorian calendar, so we don't know how long is 120 based on our calendar. The Good Lord gave him the 10 commandments but he told also to Adam & Eve, Abraham and his descendants: " Go forth add and multiply."

If you have one wife for those 120 years, how can you multiply? lol!

Footnote as a j/k: If you are Tiger with a billion worth of cash with one wife to live, sleep and die, will it not be boring for a birdie player?

Edwin I too must respectfully disagree.PJ isn't known for 'developing young talent' because his teams have basically always been contenders (apart from the Smush/Kwame days when there wasn't any talent to develop)

If you look back at the bulls and lakers most of the players have played their best basketball under him.He had guys like BJ Armstrong and Horace Grant in the all star team,guys like Luc Longley and Scott Williams playing key roles...theres all kinds of guys who made contributions who you otherwise would never have heard of and for the most part they never did much outside of PJ's system.

He even made Pete Meyers and Smush Parker look okay as starters for a while.Scottie,Kobe and AB have all developed into stars under him...Wheres D George? how many other coaches could Fisher have become a legend for? How were John Paxson and Steve Kerr's careers going before they played for him? How many All NBA teams had Pau won? How many championships had Jordan won?

Developing players would appear to be exactly what Phil does.

p ang:
>just what level is there after winning the championship?
DYNASTY?

Ex I wholeheartedly apologise for my incorrect spelling of the word 'seize'. I before E except after S.It won't happen again.

Hey Gang;

Go easy on this dynasty talk - just take it easy. Step at a time. We're working on back-to-back, not dynasty. Back-to-back is a monster jump in class - step at a time.

Morrison was as guilty as all the other scrubs of not getting the ball down low to Bynum in the 1st 5 minutes of the 4th. It made no sense to shoot a contested jumper when Drew (Who was 9 out of 10) from the field, 90% was on the floor posting up. Throw it into the post, THEN spot up for the open 3. They have a lot to learn.

Watch the video over again (of Kobe speaking about Ammo).

Watch the body language. Watch it two times with the sound turned off. Recognize that he has been taught to speak POLITICALLY.

Always pay attention to body language.

My interpretation: Kobe recognizes that Ammo is not living up to his potential and that he wants Ammo to succeed. The question makes him a bit nervous, so he presses (through his answer) for Ammo to rely upon his strengths, because he fears that if Ammo does not fall back on his strengths that he will not succeed... and he does not want ANY of his teammates to fail.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

Damn, Moses was a pimp.

Hennessey between halves? All I can say is the man has good taste.
Ron ron is obviously a personality type that needs some type of public attention.
So does Kobe, they just go about it in different ways.
As long as Artest plays his role in Laker's basketball games and keeps getting better in the system, both of which he has done magnificently, he's cool.
Recently though, the volume of attention seeking behavior off-court seems to be increasing.
Is it just because he's in Hollywood and simply has more access to the media?
Or is he, for psychological reasons, building up to something, which may not have a good outcome?

Jon K

Nervous? Kobe Bryant doesn't get nervous.Especially about questions that he could have answered in one sentence if he wanted to.

'He doesn't get much time so I was happy for him and wanted to encourage him'

To me it looked like he got right into answering the question.Naturally he has to watch his phrasing and naturally he wanted to encourage his teamate while being realistic about his weaknesses.Clearly he feels Adam works hard and recognises he is in a tough situation.I guess when you are winning games by an average of 15 points you can take tme to worry about your scrub teammate's next contract.
Morrison wil get other opportunities and if he keeps working he might one day be a valuable role player for someone.The year he started he might have been the worst starter in the league...but look at JJ Redick...he wasn't an NBA player but he's shown if you stick at it and take advantage of the knowledge around and keep working through all the frustration then you then you might get a chance down the line.Morrison is a bust as a lottery pick and ended up in the wrong place becasue of finances but he will get a chance somewhere.He must have the temperament there somewhere too..the only problem is that playing for the lakers this season means his chance might come on a minimum contract.He's one guy that is will almost certainly do better financially if he goes to Europe but that might be too much of an admission of failure at this point.

AK,

I thought "Ammo's" lefty layup was nice. He took his two steps as if he was going to go right handed, kind of switched to his left on the way up, double clutched while making some body contact, and then softly laid it up over his head. Well it looked smooth to me...or maybe him finally scoring looked good. For some reason I want to see Morrison succeed, I guess cause I watched him play a lot in college. I get pumped when he finally comes in! I always tell people, "Check this guy out, he can score, just watch," but he never gets going. Must be hard to come off the bench cold as ice. Hope he has the best of luck the rest of the season...GO LAKERS!

There's something completely wrong with the idea that PJ doesn't really develop young talent, or that the triangle doesn't fit certain players. To a certain extent, the triangle doesn't, but I think that perception is focused too heavily on the individual's success, and not the team's.

When it comes down to it, think about the kind of attitudes the earlier Laker teams had to deal with. For example, Kwame and Smush. When you take a look at their time with the Lakers, PJ made them commit to a role, and they actually excelled (at least to what their potential would allow). PJ really does makes guys commit to their role, and is focused on the team success, not the individual success. He creates a very good balance on the floor that allows the letters on the front of the jersey to shine, not the back of it.

AK,

Of course Kobe is growing and maturing as a leader, you are dead right, and why would anyone think that to say that is a knock on Kobe?


The same was said of Jordan as he grew from a player to a leader. No one thought that was an insult. Look, a few years ago Phil called Kobe "uncoachable." Now Kobe is an extension of the coaching staff. He is going to will this team to greatness. That seems a lot like maturing to me.


Kobe is smart. Heknows that if Ammo is going to play a role earlier in games it is going to be as an assasin, a knock down shooter who can come into games and have an impact. So he is wisely pushing him to do that. If Ammo is going to be a weak defender and average facilitator for the 3rd unit he has a minimal value. If he gets his shooting mojo back he can earn his keep.


Kobe is smart, he is a leader, and he continues to mature and grow. That is all good news. Players have to mature as they age. The physical tools are all downhill for Kobe, but as he grows as a player and a leader he can maintain a level of greatness.


Tom D.

Ammo problem is that he cut his hair and like Samson, he lost his strentgh. His 70's look was not appropiato to the NBA maybe...

Kobe is known for reviewing film. That is what he needs to do for Adam. Get some old 'Zag footage and remind him of who he is. If Adam Morrision truly becomes 'Ammo' for the Lakers 2nd unit this team will win the next THREE 'Ships in a row! Period. He has the skill set to become the 'Kobe Bryant' of 2nd units, with the exception of D. His scoring prowess will free up Sasha's J, Powell's J and MBenga for offensive putbacks. He would be better suited on the floor defensively with Shannon or as a one-two offensive punch with Jordan (but the D would truly suffer) - all depending on in-game situations. His successful offensive aggression creates a better defensive posture for the 2nd squad and those leads would stay intact or elongate. I believe he is the key to confident repeat championships. They have no other bench threat like Adam Morrison if he ever decides to be the 'Ammo' of Gonzaga. Summer league was proof positive of his ability to do that.

I'm confident this is also the vision of one Kobe Bean Bryant.

My bad, we will win the next 2 'Ships if Adam awakens 'Ammo'. He will be on a new contract after that and it may not be with us.

Go Lakers!

Kiwi,

"Nervous? Kobe Bryant doesn't get nervous."

Watch Kobe's side to side movement in the interview as the question is being asked. I wouldn't necessarily call it "nervousness", perhaps "uncomfortableness" might be better.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

It took me a while to post these days (too much to follow through in real life ;)) but as a Kobe addicted, and having noticed his reactions from the bench right when he cheered Ammo, I had t post a lil note under this thread.

Kobe is always able to impress me for the way he constantly gains further layers onto his phenomenon essence of legendary player (that's where he belongs in the history of this sport). He has eyes and ears everywhere and he's becoming a fine, fine psychologist.

His talent in command and his style in pushing teammates ahead is increasingly in such gracious, yet powerful way I for one would REALLY like to see him become a Lakers coach when he retires. A combination with DFish? Sign me under.
I can see it happen so naturally, and what he said here just leads me there quicker.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...