Kobe Bryant’s shooting has been the main topic of discussion for the Lakers this season — just like, um, every season — and in a hilarious interview with ESPN, he boasts that he’d take even more shots if he had a Hall of Fame distributor like Chris Paul on his squad: “Driving the lane but stuck with no room to shoot, he tossed the ball off the bottom of the backboard, caught it and laid it in. Who says Kobe doesn’t pass the ball? ‘I should get an assist for that,’ Bryant said. ‘It’s an intentional pass to oneself, so it’s an assist. That way people can’t say all I do is shoot.’ […] ‘Look, I’ve played 15 years. I’ve won world championships. I’ve done all these things. And people still want to talk about this stupid-a** [stuff]? I’m a scorer first … I’ll try to make the good play, the good pass, kick it out when my teammates are open, but I’m a scorer first. I may shoot 27 times. I may shoot 20 times. Nobody complains when I shoot 10 times. You don’t hear ME complaining when I shoot 10 times. It just depends on the game, you know?’ Yes, but Kobe, with your right wrist swollen like a miniature Macy’s float, wouldn’t this be a good time to pass on a few. ‘I’ve shortened up my follow through,’ he says. Yes, but Kobe, according to ESPN research, you have the highest ‘usage rate’ — that’s the number of possessions a player uses per 40 minutes — in the NBA. In fact, your usage rate (38.9) would be the highest in the 3-point era of NBA. ‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘And I also have five rings.’ Yes, but Kobe, stats show that the Lakers are 29-4 when rising star center Andrew Bynum scores 20 points. Shouldn’t it be a high priority for you to. ‘That’s great. How many of those shots come from me kicking it to him for good looks when I’m being doubled?’ […] Besides his coming divorce, which he doesn’t talk about, nothing is going to change Kobe Bryant. Whether Phil Jackson is his coach or new Lakers coach Mike Brown. (‘Right now, Kobe Bryant allows me to coach him,’ Brown said the other day, and not kiddingly.) Whether Chris Paul is his teammate or Paul is playing across the hall for the Clippers. ‘Not true,’ says Kobe. ‘Chris would’ve created shots for me. I wouldn’t be shooting 29 times a game. I’d be shooting 40. Man, what would people be saying THEN?'”
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