Carmelo Anthony has been on a rampage of late. He had a triple double vs the Celtics a few days ago, 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. This has come in the absence of Amare Stoudemire.
On the other coast, Kobe Bryant has been out of the Laker lineup giving an opportunity for Kobe lovers to go “Ha, the Lakers suck without Kobe. All his shot jacking is justified.” Or for his haters to go “Yeah now look at how good the Lakers can be when the ball actually moves and one man doesn’t command twenty shots a game.”
Which of the two get a say, Kobe lovers or haters, depends on the Lakers’ record without Kobe during this stretch. Right now both Kobe lovers and haters are getting ample ammo:
- Kobe lovers- Lakers got demolished by the Spurs, in a game where the Spurs went on a 18-0 run at one point and ended up winning 112-91.
- Kobe haters- Lakers won four straight including a win over the defending champions, Dallas Mavericks.
There are few more polarizing figures in basketball than perimeter scorers. For the very simple reason that their performances fluctuates game to game and they operate solo. One game you have a 12 for 20 night and then you follow it up with a 4 for 15.
Basketball is a game of odds. All you can do is stack up your chips and watch them fall where they may. Lakers vs Nets. The Lakers have a greater chance of winning. A greater chance, because of their superior pieces and how well they gel together. The Nets odds won’t have many takers because of inferior talent. But the Lakers may have an off night allowing the Nets to pull away.
Teams have off nights. Players have off nights too. Be they the interior defender who get outrebounded and are unable to man the paint, playmakers with a low assists/turnover ratio, or long range bombers who go cold from the distance. Or the scorer who goes 5 for 18. All of them can be justified except for the iso scorer.
-The interior defender did his best, but the opposition just had an unstoppable game.
-The playmaker tried to make something happen, but the team spacing was spaced out.
-Long range shots are missed more often than made. The three point shooter can get by with a 35% shooting percentage.
-The perimeter scorer cannot take a night off. Because everyone of his moves is completely open to ten different interpretations.
Why did he take that shot? He could have used a screen and got closer to the rim.
Why did he take the screen and get close when he knew the defense would converge on him? He should have just taken the open shot being given to him by the defense.
The only difference between a good shot and a bad one is if it goes in. Allen Iverson’s entire career was based on taking shots half of which made no sense. And now Chris Paul is working the same system of launching long Js and floaters from everywhere. It’s a matter of makes over misses. Half of the Clippers’ close games have been won because of Chris Paul’s isolation heroics late in game.
Kobe Bryant is leading the league in scoring with 28.1 points per game.
Kobe lovers: Kobe leads the league in scoring and the Lakers are 3rd in West.
Kobe haters: Why does he need to score so much? Use Gasol and Bynum for higher percentage shots.
Jermey Lin was the story of the year, he even got featured in the Time’s list of 100 most influential people. The impact he made on court came in the absence of Carmelo, and when Melo returned to the lineup, Lin had a tough time adjusting. Critics pointed at Anthony for stifling a good thing which the Knicks had going on.
Now in the absence of Stoudemire, Anthony is averaging 32.1 points per game in April and is keeping the Knicks playoff hopes alive.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to perimeter/isolation scorers. When they have an off night people clamour for their heads and when they are on a roll, the critics’ heads roll. Its all on the roll of a dice. A crapshoot. Sometimes the basket looks like an ocean and on other nights they cant get a 10 footer to go in.
Isolation scorers have their game isolated more than every other piece on the court because what they do is in isolation whereas all the other pieces interact with the teammates to play their role. Defense is a team effort. Playmaking requires proper spacing and ball movement from all. Long range shooters are forgiven as threes are expected to be missed more than they fall in. Post players get good position inside and take high percentage shots. Even if they don’t make them they are forgiven because they attempted a good shot. But the trade of an isolation scorer depends on creating their own shot and whether that is a good shot or not, only they know and we judge it based on if the shot goes in. On the nights when it does not his game gets picked apart.
Not all teams need an iso scorer, but for a team like the Knicks who are without Stoudemire and Lin, Melo’s hero ball is justified and required. Whether Kobe needs to do the same has no clear answer.
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