If Kobe Bryant expects to win a championship this June, he needs to trust his teammates more. If he doesn't, the Lakers will not only struggle to win the Finals, they may have trouble even getting there. Last night's loss to the Houston Rockets, putting them down 1-0 in the series, is to me, enough cause for concern. Phil Jackson needs to sit down Kobe and tell him the same thing he told Jordan: trust your teammates more.
The Lakers have problems whenever Kobe takes too many shots. Last night Kobe took 31. His selfish side came out and Kobe got greedy, as he had as many assists as Pau Gasol last night: 4. That's also the same number as the amount of shots Sasha Vujacic, LA's self-proclaimed "3-Point Machine," took. If you're 2-17 from 3-point land, and that's a huge reason you're losing late in the game, why not toss the ball to your best three-point man? Kobe, be like Mike, and pass the ball more. Have more trust in your teammates late in the game.
Andrew Bynum, putting together a sub-par effort with 10 points and just 3 rebounds, took more shots than Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza, Sasha, and Jordan Farmar. On any given night, I expect each of those players to take more shots than Bynum. That's partly Kobe's fault. He needs to be looking to pass. The Houston Rockets are going to be tough and physical this entire series. They're going to expect Kobe to come at them, knowing this, and they'll double-team him. If Kobe doesn't pass the ball, or even look to pass, LA's in trouble.
On a separate note, Yao Ming pulled off a great Willis Reed last night. Not even walking all the way to the clubhouse before changing your mind? He turned around half-way through the tunnel. His trainers couldn't even take a look! Trust me, Yao is laughing at all of us for buying this right now. He thinks he fooled us. Well Yao, you didn't fool me. I know you're a soccer player deep down. You squirmed and wriggled like Materrazzi after Zidane's World Cup head-butt. And that's a sick comparison. I have even less respect for you, now. Kobe's knee hurt YOUR knee? He's half your size, Yowie. Please.
The Lakers are still going to win this series in 7. That's because the Rockets are physical, and there are no early signs of anyone stepping up to help Kobe out. But Kobe needs to encourage that by passing the ball more. Isn't that what a great leader does? Make his teammates better? You ain't Iverson, Kobe. That's why we love you.