Kobe Bryant is no stranger to estranged relationships and high pressure situations. His tenure with Shaquille O’Neal at the Lakers from 1996 to 2004 proved difficult but ultimately rewarding for the young Bryant who was blessed with 3 championships with one of history’s most dominant centers. His strained relationship with Shaq has been written to death, talked about in newspapers and television programs and analyzed online to the point where we wondered how Bryant would ever deal with the injection of another superstar into a team he, and the city of Los Angeles, knows belongs to him. Kobe has long said that he and Shaq’s relationship was so discordant that it got to the point where the two couldn’t stand to be in the same room together and while Championships resulted, it would be remiss of Bryant to imagine it happening again. Chemistry is more important in today’s game than it ever has been, and he knows it. While there is not a requirement that teams and players become best friends, there undoubtedly needs to be a high level of trust and personality that can be transferred from training, to the locker rooms and eventually to the court. This is something that has plagued the new-look, super team that is the 2013 Los Angeles Lakers and more to the point, Kobe Bryant and their new superstar center Dwight Howard but now, it seems as though things may be changing for the better.
You don’t need to be an expert to see that there is trouble in Laker Land. This storied franchise came into to 2012/13 with a whole new arsenal of players and Championship aspirations, and so far they have looked everything but. The acquisition of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison (who is he again?) were meant to bolster the team into the upper echelons of the Western Conference and
everyone many predicted that this would undoubtedly end in yet another title for Lakers. Since the start of the season, the drama that has unfolded has been nothing short of disastrous for the Lakers’ PR department, as the team reels at 15 wins and 16 losses a quarter of the way through to season. Who would have thought this stacked Lakers roster would be under .500 after 31 games?
Add into the mix the firing of head coach Mike Brown after Los Angeles started the season 1-4. The players remain adamant that it will turn around, that they can right the ship through hard work and chemistry building. Sure, injury has plagued them through the initial stages, but with the team nearly back to full strength it’s hard to see a lot of improvement and it’s now becoming frustrating for fans, coaching staff, management and indeed the players themselves. It’s really quite hard to pinpoint where the Lakers are struggling, but here we’ll take a look at all the factors surrounding the team and allow you to break down where you think there is room for improvement and who may or may not be the true crux of the problems in Los Angeles. We’ll look at the players, coaches, fans and more to try and better understand what the real issues are that face one of the most famous sporting franchises in history.