Last week, Kobe Bryant live-tweeted a replay of his 81-point game, which was being shown on NBA TV during the seventh anniversary of the virtuoso performance. The next night, Kobe went out and jacked up 23 shots and scored 29 points for the Lakers ... who lost by 13 to Memphis, putting their record at the time at 17-25. He had just three assists in the game.
And then ... something different happened. Kobe became something other than the Kobe we all know. He became ... point guard Kobe?
In an effort to re-invent himself and jump-start the Lakers' season, Kobe took it upon himself to become more facilitator than scorer. Anyone who has watched him previously knows he can pass. What we didn't know is that he was willing to pass this much.
As the Lakers head to Target Center to face the Wolves tonight -- a team that could use a re-invention of its own -- Kobe has averaged 12 assists over the past four games, with Los Angeles going 3-1 in the process. He has taken 12 or fewer shots in three of the four games (the victories, perhaps not coincidentally) and hasn't scored more than 21 points in any of them. He's enjoying it, and he's only getting better at it because, as Kobe points out, when he puts his mind to something he locks down on it. These are his own words:
When I focus in on something, I become obsessed about it, and I want to be perfect at it. That's just my personality. So if I was to be a point guard, I'd just obsess over it and wouldn't stop until I get it absolutely right.
So if you are going to the game tonight, expect a new Kobe. It might be odd to watch, but it will be interesting all the same.