When was the last time Kobe Bryant was still Kobe Bryant? It's a difficult and, for some, painful question to ask. As much as he tries, and dear god is he trying, Kobe isn't Kobe this year. Not even close.
When Kobe Bryant talks, we listen. That's what five NBA titles and a league MVP gets you. As a result, it became national news when the 36-year-old Bryant was caught on camera going after his teammates for a lackluster effort during practice. "Soft," he called them.
The stats behind the Lakers abominable defense are shocking. Not only are the Lakers last in team defensive rating (120.5), the seven players with the worst individual defensive ratings in the league all belong to the Lakers!
Kobe Bryant is 36 years old. He has been in the NBA over half of his life, which is almost inconceivable in itself, and he's returning from a devastating knee injury that cost him pretty much an entire season. ESPN.com ranked him the 40th best player in the league -- and that's preposterous.