The current weaknesses Kobe Bryant may not just involve whether he can stay healthy after having three season-ending injuries in consecutive years. Milwaukee Bucks forward Jared Dudley also argued that “most guys don’t want to play with Kobe” because of his high-volume shooting.
“He wants to show everyone so much,” Dudley said on Tuesday in a radio appearance with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. “We love you Kobe. But come on It’s like, it’s now time to start giving up. Most guys don’t want to play with Kobe.”
Dwight Howard left the Lakers following the 2012-13 season for the Houston Rockets after clashing with Bryant’s demanding leadership style. But Howard has maintained he left for Houston more because of its more talented and younger roster than his issues with Bryant. Pau Gasol also left the Lakers last summer for the Chicago Bulls despite his strong relationship with Bryant, for reasons including the Lakers’ recent struggles and being the subject of trade rumors for the past three years. Though Carmelo Anthony re-signed with the New York Knicks, he met with the Lakers last summer partly because of his relationship with Bryant.
Yet, Bryant’s high-volume shooting became an issue last season because of his career-low 37.3 percent clip and a poor supporting cast.
“Kobe gets in this thing where he doesn’t pass and then he over-passes and he’s trying to get triple-doubles every night,” Dudley said. “You have [the ability to pass]. It’s just not something he wants to do. And that’s why I think it’ll be a while before the Lakers can get good.”
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently downplayed that issue.
“If there is a player out there like that, that won’t come here for that reason, then we don’t want them,” Kupchak told Sirius XM NBA Radio. “Every great player is demanding and focused, and if you don’t want to play for a guy like him that’s driven to do nothing but win championships and work hard, then you shouldn’t be here. You should go someplace else.”