Should Kobe Bryant Try To Win The NBA Scoring Title Tonight Or Get Some Rest?
In case you haven’t noticed this yet—he’s only been in the NBA for, what, 16 years now—Kobe Bryant is a really competitive guy. If there’s a competition going on, he wants in. And, he doesn’t just want to do his best in that competition, he wants to win it. So, it should really come as no surprise to hear that, while Los Angeles Lakers starters like Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum will be resting tonight when the Lakers take on the Sacramento Kings in their final game of the season, KB24 wants to play. But, it’s not because the game actually means anything. It’s because Kobe needs just 38 points to beat Kevin Durant out and win the NBA scoring title.
So, should he play? That’s the question that sports analysts, NBA fans, and even Kobe himself is thinking about today. On the one hand, winning the scoring title is a great honor. And, it’d probably be even more of an honor for Kobe this year, given all the grief he’s taken for shooting too much, hogging the ball from his teammates, being too old to be as great as he used to do, etc. No one picked Kobe to win the scoring title this season, so him actually doing it would probably be one of the greatest accomplishments of his career. It’d show the rest of the league—and the rest of the world—that he’s still every bit as talented as he used to be.
But, there’s another side to this, too. Kobe has suffered through a painful shin injury for most of the last month and he could really use a night off before the 2012 NBA Playoffs start on Saturday. He’s not exactly the youngest guy in the league anymore so a night off could greatly benefit both his mind and his body. It’d give him the opportunity to heal up as much as possible before the Lakers first playoff matchup. And, with Metta World Peace likely to be suspended for the entire opening round series of the playoffs thanks to his recent troubles, it’d give him the chance to be ready to play more during the first round of the playoffs. So, in that regard, the Lakers would probably like to see him sit tonight.
Here’s what I think he should do: Play the first quarter—and see where he stands. If he’s playing solely to score 38 points, he needs to be realistic throughout the course of the game and decide if he’s going to be able to accomplish his goal or not. If he has 4 points at the end of the first and the Kings make it a point to shut him down, he should probably take a seat on the bench and get rested. If the Kings don’t make it a point to stop him, though, and he’s able to drop, say, 12 points through the first 12 minutes of the game, then, by all means, keep firing, Kobe.
At the end of the day, I can’t blame Kobe Bryant for trying to play tonight. After all, how often do you get the change to win an NBA scoring title and know exactly what you have to do to win it? So, it’s probably worth a shot (or, more specifically, 20 to 25 shots). But, if he gets off to a slow start and it becomes evident that 38 points is out of reach, he needs to know when to shut it down. That’ll be tough to do, especially given Kobe’s competitive streak, but it’s what he has to do to put his team first.
Do you think Kobe should play tonight? Or, is he being selfish by trying to win the scoring title when he should be getting some rest for the playoffs? Sound off below.