02
Sep
12

Kobe Bryant’s Best and Worst Playoff Series (Part 1)

In order to fully appreciate a player from a historical standpoint, one has to embrace both the highs and the lows of his career.

When it comes to Kobe, a player who entered the NBA as an 18 year old and has since entered the ‘top 5 ever’ discussions, looking at the highs and the lows is not only entertaining – it’s essential.

So, in Part 1, here are Kobe’s 5 WORST Playoff series:

1. Playoffs 1998 2nd Round vs. the Seattle SuperSonics: 3.7 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.0 apg.

  • This is by far the worst series Kobe has ever played. He was sidelined for 2 games because of flu, and in the other 3 games the virus affected his performance so much that people started speculating that the Lakers were better off without him on the floor. Still, the Lakers handled their business and won the series 4-1.

2. Playoffs 1997 2nd Round vs. the Utah Jazz: 8.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.8 apg.

  • In Game 5, with the Jazz holding a 3-1 series lead, the 18 year old took it upon himself to bring LA to victory – and failed miserably. He shot a couple of airballs which gave the Jazz a 98-93 victory. According to Kobe, this series (especially the way Game 5 ended) was his main motivation for improving his game in the Summer of 1997.

3. Playoffs 1998 Western Conference Finals vs. the Utah Jazz: 10.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.0 apg.

  • While Kobe was sidelined with flu (see above), the Lakers were rolling and looked like title contenders, ready to challenge the back-to-back champions Chicago Bulls. Kobe’s return, however, pushed Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones back to their original roles, which ruined the team’s momentum. The Lakers were swept by the Jazz, who lost to the Bulls in 6 games.

4. Playoffs 1997 1st Round vs. the Portland TrailBlazers: 7.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.5 apg.

  • Though these averages are not any better than the ones mentioned above, considering his role and minutes played, Kobe had a decent series. His FG% was above .500, he didn’t turn the ball over (only 1 tpg), and had 22 points in a Game 4 loss, showing that he has a bright future ahead of him. The Lakers won the series 3-1.

5. Playoffs 1998 1st Round vs. the Portland TrailBlazers: 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg.

  • Coming from a season that many considered worthy of a 6th Man of the Year Award (finished 2nd in the voting behind Suns’ Danny Manning), Kobe underperformed in the 1st Round of the 1998 Playoffs. Still, the Lakers won the series 3-1.

Honorable mention (chronological order):

  • the 1999 1st Round vs. the Houston Rockets: 18.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.8 apg.
  • the 2000 NBA Finals vs. the Indiana Pacers: 15.6 pgg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg (got injured in the 1st quarter of Game 2 and was never the same).
  • the 2004 NBA Finals vs. the Detroit Pistons: 22.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.4 apg (a mix of Pistons’ terrific defense, the Kobe-Shaq beef reaching its apex, and the sexual assault case trial looming).

.

These series shouldn’t be viewed as a stain on Kobe’s career – in all 8 of them he was either too young/inexperienced, injured/sick, or facing serious off court issues.

These bad performances should be recognized as something that fueled Kobe’s fire through the years, and made him strive to be the best basketball player he can be. Most all-time greats (MJ, Kareem, Wilt, Larry Bird, etc.) never had to go through a transition period where they weren’t “the man” on their teams. In that respect, Kobe’s career is truly one of a kind.

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Kobe Bryant’s Best and Worst Playoff Series (Part 1)”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Join 12 other followers

Twatter


%d bloggers like this: