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Kobe Bryant and Elvin Hayes both ensured longevity during their playing careers

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Each time Kobe Bryant moves up on the NBA's all-time scoring list, the aftermath has proven pretty routine.

Bryant expresses indifference to his ranking in total points, compliments each player he surpasses and emphasizes his desire to pursue the 11 championships Celtics Hall of Fame center Bill Russell won. When Bryant surpassed Elvin Hayes for seventh place on the NBA's all-time list after making a running bank shot with 5:56 remaining in the Lakers' 90-87 victory Sunday over Oklahoma City, Bryant simply said this about the milestone to the Daily News' Elliott Teaford:  "Cool. Just keep on rolling, I guess."

Bryant clearly has been through this routine before, already eclipsing John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson and Hakeem Olajuwon this season alone on the all-time scoring list. Bryant, at  27,320 points, should soon surpass Moses Malone for sixth place (27,409) within the next three to four games, assuming Bryant maintains his 25.1-point average. And with each milestone, it sparks conversation on where Bryant will ultimately finish on the scoring list and what each player he surpassed meant to him in his overall study of the game.

Bryant shared that insight to Teaford, remarking he picked up on the "Big E's" fallaway jumpers, a move Bryant actually used to give the Lakers their final points. In an isolated set on the far wing, Bryant posted up on Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha, moved out into triple-threat position, swung the ball left, dribbled in, posted up and then turned around for a 16-footer. ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky also noted parallels in which  both Bryant and Hayes experienced contentious relationships at some point with the front office, coaches and teammates. And what I also found interesting was both players' ability to ensure longevity in their careers. 

Hayes played at least 80 games in every season of his career, which included stops with the San Diego Rockets (1968-1972), Baltimore and Washington Bullets (1972-81) and the Houston Rockets (1981-84). He never missed more than two games in a single season and sat out only nine contests his entire career. He logged the second-highest minutes ever played (50,000) and finished fourth on the all-time list for games played (1,303), two milestones an NBA.com biography said served as a "tribute to his durability and conditioning."

Bryant, in his 15th season, has logged 39,435 career minutes (26th all-time) in 1,082 games and played in all 82 games in both the 2007-2008 and 2008-09 seasons. Bryant doesn't exactly have the league's iron-man streak (that honor currently belongs to Derek Fisher), but he's stayed in the lineup  even when fighting through injuries.

59731927That, of course, has become the inevitable storyline involving Bryant the past two seasons, as he's battled a fractured right index finger, sprained left ankle and a sprained right knee; the latter injury required surgery this off-season, and he's said he has very little cartilage remaining in the knee. Bryant remains reluctant at times to look at all the mileage he's accumulated because it then leads into suggestions that he's too old and no longer has the athleticism that he once displayed.

No doubt, he takes a tactical approach in pacing his body, minimizing on-court conditioning time in practice, taking  repeated treatments and adjusting his game. There will also come a point, as Jerry West predicted last year, that age and injuries eventually will catch up to Bryant no matter how hard he fights it.

But that's exactly the point. One only has to rewind to the Lakers' 108-95 victory Friday over the Clippers to see how Bryant is squeezing every ounce of talent and energy he can provide. After hurting the funny bone in his right elbow, Bryant removed himself from the game and spent halftime working on his range of motion. He then returned in the third quarter to score 18 points, using only his right hand when he actually shot the ball. The gasps echoed at Staples Center and the concern over Bryant's injury during the live chat illustrates how fragile the Lakers' chances at three-peating are should Bryant suffer a major injury. 

What's sometimes lost in Bryant's ongoing quest to maintain basketball excellence amid his injuries is how he's managed to remain on top and evolve despite all the wear and tear. It's intriguing to wonder how much Bryant can get out of a diminishing shelf life and, in the case of the NBA's all-time scoring list, who else he'll be able to pass. As Bryant goes through that process, however, it's also necessary to look at it out of appreciation that he's made it this far already.

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to get a hand in the face of Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant during the first half Sunday. Credit: Mark D. Smith / US Presswire

 
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The only number Kobe really cares about is SIX.


DBDH!

Congrats to big game james!? Sorry I'm a thread behind and only missed it by a few minutes.. I better type fast or I'll be behind another thread again..

Dang MM you are absolutely on fire again.. Just a freakin CYBLORG.. En fuego! Another what 4-5 threads in less than 4 hrs??


So Tony Parker is going to be out for a couple of weeks (at least). Let's see how San Antonio fares without one of their main players.

comparing Kobe's contentiousness with the Big E's is patently unfair. Kobe has NEVER been just plain unreasonable like E Hayes. he's never refused the team nor his fellow players like Elvin did. if you want to compare scoring prowess and longevity, fine, but Kobe's not the negative guy that Mr Hayes was said to be.

Elvin Hayes was known as a choker(possibly unfairly, like Wilt) and a guy who didn't really love the game. with all of Kobe's problems, those have never been charges against him. Elvin Hayes had a bitter experience by many accounts, i wouldn't say that's the case for Kobe.

So nets pickup deron.. So much for the farmar for starting PG of the future experiment.

Soon after trade farmar sprains his ankle and was reported as being very pessimistic and suggested this sprain is more serious than others in the past.. He said "I never had one where it swelled up like this"

LOL.. (Sorry don't wasn't funny) but take ur time mr farmar.. This time I would understand if ur booboo is gonna take a little bit longer to heal..


Drew had been playing a bit tentatively since coming back from his knee injury. This seems to have changed since the all star break. He is going after it. I agree with other posters. He shoots a high percentage. Get him the ball! When Ron locks down their best guy, Kobe facilitates, Pau and Drew are aggressive, and Lamar brings it off the bench, the Lakers are very tough to beat. I can't wait for the return of the Killer B's to give our starters some rest. We have won against good teams and dominated lousy teams lately. I hope that we can keep it up and get some playing time for the rookies. We are not getting any younger… ;-)

The switch is called DEFENSE. When we bring the D, good things happen.

It is amazing how every year about this time the Lakers start playing great. Credit has to go to PJ for holding things together and steering the ship to its destiny.

I looked at the schedule this morning and I have to say it is a little scary starting next week. 4 away games against very good teams (San Antonio, Atlanta, Miami, and Dallas) and then we come home to Orlando... This is where the rubber hits the road. We can’t fall further back in the standings. It is winning time baby!

I am a Lakerholic.


@SCOTTIE PIMPIN... There is no doubt that Drew is not as savvy a passer as Kobe or Pau who are both more experienced but if you have been watching the last few games, Drew has done an outstanding job passing the ball out of the post and making plays for his teammates. In fact, in the four games since the All-Star break, Drew has had 8 assists, including at least 1 assist in every game, an average of 2 assists per game, and a season high of 4 against the Clippers. That’s pretty damn good, especially considering that Pau, who had 13 assists in the same 4 games, gets 2 or 3 times as many touches as Drew, most generally at the high post where he is often a passer first. Drew also has been doing an excellent job quickly moving the ball when double teamed. Bottom line, I don’t believe Drew’s passing skills are a valid reason for not giving him more touches.
............................................
TOM

yellofever - I was thinking at least 10 man! haha.

@LakerTom:

I agree with you 100%. When Drew is fronted, you simply gotta get him the ball. I think, however, that this relates to our conversation yesterday. Andrew needs to prove to his teammates that he is going to HAMMER the ball when he catches it. The kid is mega-strong. It's time to put some fear into the man defending him. Luckily, he's also a good free-throw shooter, so getting to the line more isn't a bad thing for him (read: Shaq).

Dammit, Tom. I just want to see Andrew play to his potential. Yes, I remember the "Making of a Beast" video well. Drew was DESTROYING everything in his path. I can't wait to see that again. I know it's in there... Unleash the beast, Bynum!

Go Lake Show!

mud - Just to clarify, I wasn't comparing Kobe and Hayes' relationships with coaches and players. I simply mentioned that AK had a story looking at the two. If you read his story, you'll see it clearly differentiates. Comparing doesn't mean they're similar. In often cases, comparing involves looking at differences. In any case, I was more intrigued by the longevity thread that both had.

Parker being out has almost no relevance to the Lakers other than perhaps chemistry issues that might arise when he returns so close to the playoffs.

I mean, they're up like, what, 9 games in the loss column? There's no way the Lakers catch the Spurs this season for HCA.

But, we can hope this causes other disruptions down the line

@LakerTom...I hope you are right about drew's passing. Maybe he will get more touches and become a true playmaker. I have been most impressed with his defensive intensity and I think that is the key to the 3-peat rather than him getting more offensive touches.

Parker down... Duncan with a tweaked ankle... That's why I say: The team has to sweep all their games right through 14 March which ends with Orl. With the 2nd seed in the west, it should be good enough for HCA in the Finals!

A decent "big" for NY and Chauncey will have a field day at the Point. Yep, I like the Knicks but I LOVE L.A.!


Lets Get It On!

Bryant called Perkins "the best low-post defender we have in the game."

Source; Daily news, Elliot Teaford

In my humble opinion, Mamba, and I can't remember the last time I've disagreed with you, it's been a while, Perkins is not the best.

He's not the best. The best low post defender in the game is Tyson Chandler.

You can't really measure Chandler's impact stat wise, his rebounding numbers can be gaudy once in a while, he's quite the rebound gobbler actually. He's got no offensive game to speak of really, he's better than Perkins in that regard.

Chandler was drafted by the Clips, than traded to Chicago. The year before, Chicago was a horrible defensive team (and when he left they were bad again),
in the 04'-05' season they went from #16 in defensive efficiency, to #2. Fantastic leaps, mostly due to Tyson, himself. The next year, 05'06 they slid to #7, still a top ten defensive squad.

Fast forward, playing in New Orleans on a team that was ranked #19 in defensive efficiency. The first year Tyson played, they jumped to #14. Not bad. They were at the league average. This is the worst defensive squad he's ever been on, and they were average, think about that.

Could Perk turn a bad defensive team into an average one by himself? I have my doubts.

08-09', the Hornets improved again, ranked #9. So, Tyson plays on 3 different teams and improves their defensive efficiency to a top ten squad. 3 different teams! At this point, the bulls are #18 in defensive efficiency, worse off.

09'-10' playing for Charlotte, who were #7, become the #1 ranked defensive efficiency team in the league, pretty impressive, he made a great defensive team even better. At this point, the Hornets rank #21 in defensive efficiency, worse off.

Joining Dallas, they go from #12 to #5. Quite a leap. Every single team Chandler has played for has been a top ten defensive squad, every year he plays on a squad. That's outstanding data, it can't be ignored.

Tyson Chandler isn't a star, he's a worker and he turns bad, average defensive teams, into efficient, tough top 10 defensive squads. While he doesn't get a lot of shine nation wide, if there was a disperal draft, he'd be a top 10 pick, and if you don't think so, take a poll on NBA GM's and try to name one that wouldn't pick this dude up.

At the end of the day, who's better: Kendrick Perkins or Tyson Chandler. I pick Tyson, I don't think Perk could turn a bad or average defensive team into a great one. OKC is average, I don't think they're a top ten defense with Perk's impact alone.

@Mark G – Very good cut. I’ve heard that one many times but believe it or not I never knew the name of it til just now. Thanks for the education.

@DBDH – too bad about Parker. I wanted the Lakers to beat them at full strength.

@Mud – excellent post on Big E. I think that 75 Finals upset haunted him for years. Even when they finally won it in 78, Wes Unseld was the Finals MVP and Bobby Dandridge came up big in the clutch.

@LT – If Drew keeps playing like he has the last two games he’ll get more touches and opportunities. Before the last two games he did not score in double figures for 4 straight games.

For those that miss sasha V.. So far not exactly lighting up new jersey.. Last 2 games as starter after deron trade

3-13 8pts 33min
3-9 8pts 26min

Any more questions? Save them for later.

MM.. Its ok we're used to it.. No ones keepin count. At least I don't think so.. :-)

@sean - great data on the value of Chandler. But him and Perk are really different type of defenders. Perk is a more of a power one on one low post defender while Tyson is good low post one of one defender, but also a great weak side help defender and pick and roll defender out on the floor.


I believe Kobe was referring to mano-mano post defender. I believe Dwight Howard also said KP is his toughest defender.

Last but not least, the regular season is cool, but you know your rep is made in the playoffs and Chandler has only been out of the 1st round once.

@LRob- Didn't include Chandler's playoff ineptitude, LRob, oh I know about it, that has less to do with him tho, I'll defend him there. You can't ignore numbers, he beasts every where he goes, top ten defensive teams.

>>>Parker being out has almost no relevance to the Lakers other than perhaps
>>>chemistry issues that might arise when he returns so close to the playoffs.

Well, he's a chink in the armor. And not the first. They've had a couple of role players out recently as well, and Tony is obviously a much bigger hit.

If Parker is not fully healthy in the playoffs, it makes a BIG difference for the Lakers, HCA or not.

More on Parker...

Remember, in 2008 the initial prognosis was for Bynum to be back before the playoffs as well. Look how that turned out.

Obviously this is a serious milestone worth noting. However I for one am much more impressed by the fact that Kobe joined an exclusive group of only 6 Hall Of Famers earlier this season when he notched his 5,000 assist of his career. He became only the 7th player in NBA history to accumulate 25,000+ points, 5,000+ rebounds, and 5,000+ assist. As stated, the other six members are all HOF's. Kobe joins: Kareem, Karl Malone, MJ, Oscar, West, & Havlichek as the only guys to accomplish this incredible feat.

Well done Kobe, well done

@LongTimeLakerFan- good points. Tony Parker is an important cog in the Spurs run. I don't know if you realize how much George Hill has improved and Gary Neal has been excellent as well. Parker's injury affects, the Spurs laterally, I don't think they'll fare bad w/out Parker. Pop's the master at platooning.


@SEAN... Great stats on Chandler. While he and Perkins are fine defenders, I don’t think either one is as good as Dwight Howard. I also think if Drew plays defense like he has the last few games, he also would be a better defensive center than Chandler or Perkins. I doubt the Lakers would even blink if asked to trade Drew for one of those guys. After this year, they may not even blink when asked to trade Drew for Dwight. Just my opinion of course.
.............................................................
TOM

@LakerTom- Thanks Tom, and you're so right, neither one of those dudes are as good as D12. Andrew has potential to be better than Chandler or Perkins, agreed.

On another note, Corey Brewer is being bought out by the Knicks. Given his experience in the triangle (at Minny), his ability to defend multiple positions on the perimeter, and his athleticism (remember the jam on Fisher?), I think he would be a great pick-up for the future.

I see him as another Ariza (another player cast away by the Knicks, though in a trade to Orlando). It's not often that a top 7 pick becomes available on waivers (and he's certainly not on Mt. Bustmore with Kwame and AmMo) - I hope we can pick him up.

Even if it's only to use as a trade chip for the future :)

@any_one_mouse- good on ya, using your imagination. Brewer is a good kid, has the makings to make this gig a career. We're not signing him.

What does Cory Brewer, do better than Shannon Brown, that would translate into a good pickup? He's young, learning the Triangle will be a difficult chore for him and he will struggle as Brown did, Shannon's doin fine and there's no reason why Brewer would be a practical or realistic pick up.

You're right he has a future. Just not now, with the Lakers.

@LRob- Didn't include Chandler's playoff ineptitude, LRob, oh I know about it, that has less to do with him tho, I'll defend him there. You can't ignore numbers, he beasts every where he goes, top ten defensive teams.

Posted by: Sean | February 28, 2011 at 03:48 PM

-----------------
yep...boundless energy! His addition is the primary reason I believe Dallas will be tougher playoff foe for the Lakers than the Spurs this year.

Bibby would sign. He wants to be on a contender. It is obviously not about the money.

Haha so funny. Anyone that gets waived or bought out would
be a good pick up for the Lakers?

@Sean,

I don't expect him to get PT with the Lakers right away, at least not this year. Yet, as you pointed out, the kid has a future - he could serve as insurance should we lose Brown and/or Barnes next year. Or he could be a trade asset.

As for Brewer v/s Brown, Brewer is 6'9" and a much better defender :) He is certainly not the shooter that Brown is today, but with a little mentoring from the Mamba, he could definitely improve - remember Ariza?

@Magic32- Well, you know how it is with People? Too many trees, not enough Forest, ya dig!

As long as the Lakers don't have any injuries, I don't think any of the buyout players are good additions for them.

Lakerholic,

Any bonus Bibby provided in the way of outside shooting would be offset by his pathetic defense. (Ok, Fisher bashers line up to point out the irony.)

"Last but not least, the regular season is cool, but you know your rep is made in the playoffs and Chandler has only been out of the 1st round once.

Posted by: LRob | February 28, 2011 at 03:41 PM "

He hasn't been on the greatest of teams. Just look at Pau, he hadn't been out of the first round before he came to LA but once he was on a good team, he turned out ok.

I think Kobe is able to take about a half of season it would rejuvenate himself. He will only be 33 this year. Look at Ray Allen he is still going strong at 35. Ginoboli will be 34 this year and he is one of the top players in the nba. Rember Ginoboli missed almost an entire year due to injury and most people thought his days of being a top player was over. Now he is in top form terrorising the league again. Jordan missed couple years and won his final championship at age 35 or 36.

@island priest
That's why I'm not too concerned about the potential of a lockout next year. If nothing else, Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Odom all get to rest:)

It is great to see Kobe move up the ladder and he should not be compared to Hayes, but as blog writers goes, they need something negative to add in order to stir up debate.

In terms of this team, it is amazing how they are doing it with the players they have. Here's my point. This offense is about movement of personnel and ball movement. Players maintaining a certain discipline on the floor, spacing etc., etc. however, when you have 2 BIGs that require the ball the movement actually stops. Bynum needs the ball close because his range is limited. He rarely get’s offensive rebounds because he out of position when Pau is trying to back down his man, and Vice versus, even though Pau does a better job when playing against non-physical players in the post. Never-the-less, the Lakers have done a fairly decent job handling the towers because of their height. But this team will need three things to compete for a title, hustle from Barnes, because you do not have run any plays for him. Switching to a lineup that does not include Fisher and lastly, Artest has to be Artest at both ends.

The Lakers will face Dallas, Denver and the Spurs, as possible match-ups, all have superior guard play, and this doesn’t include the Thunder, which I hope do not make it to our bracket. The point here is Fisher, as amazing as he has been for 10% of the year and in big games, pretty soon the miracles will fade and all of us fans will be screaming you have traded him or let him go.


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