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Kobe Bryant came into the NBA at 18 years old straight out of high school. He had a lot to learn about the game, but by his fourth season he had emerged as one of the league’s top players, a dynamic scorer who was also a great playmaker and a good defender. Bryant has been a great mature player for nearly a decade! What changed in Los Angeles these past five seasons is that the L.A. Lakers front office gave him a substantial large amount of money and no other great coach to lead the team back to greatness.
Bryant is securely placed in almost any list of the top 10 players of all time, but is he capable of winning an NBA title under a coach other than Phil Jackson? Great coaches often have long tenures with great players but Larry Bird and Magic Johnson both won titles under multiple coaches. Ultimately, Bryant is certainly talented enough to win a title under a head coach other than Jackson but winning championships is easier said than done.
Bryant needs to be in a system that caters to his game and gives him quality looks, while also diversifying the offense to such a degree that the defense can’t just key in on the team and best scorer. This is precisely what the triangle offense seeks to accomplish, spacing the floor to prevent the defense from focusing on the best offensive player. There’s no doubt Bryant is one of the greatest players of all time and he’s got five titles on top of that. You can put him with the legendary greats, and he’s got mightily-impressive all-around numbers. He’s even got over 600 blocks. Bryant plays serious defense as evinced by his 12-time All-Defensive Team selections and 14-time All-NBA team selections.
Since we are on accolades lets talk about the great “Zen Master” [Jackson]. From 1989-2010, Jackson has had great success. He won six titles with the Chicago Bulls, and five more with the Lakers. Jackson was the coach in L.A from 1999 -2004 where he went 287-123 and won three champions during that era. Jackson left and came back from 2005-2011 in which he went 323-169 with two more championships.
Phil Jackson retired from coaching 2011; the Lakers have hired 4 coaches and went 134-178. No finals appearances, just bounced out the first round in the playoff. So I conclude on this topic of the day. Is Bryant really good as we think he is or is it because Jackson is the best coach during this era?