It must be nice to have someone like the Zen Master in your corner.
After Kobe Bryant put up 37 shots against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, the entire basketball world seemingly went after the Black Mamba, calling the five-time NBA champion a ball hog while placing the Lakers’ 0-5 start solely on his shoulders.
However, Bryant’s former coach saw nothing wrong with his 37 shot, 39 point outing.
“You don’t get it. Most players can’t GET 10 shots let alone 30+ shots,” Phil Jackson said in a tweet to ESPN’s Bomani Jones. “It takes a special athlete to get a good shot in NBA.”
“Look it. Bo is prolific,” Jackson continued, “he can overwhelm, just like Kobe. Like to hear his comments cause he takes good shots, just like Kobe. Ahem.”
After going back and watching the tape, it definitely seems like Phil is right.
While Bryant went just 14-for-37 on the night, the majority of his shots were good ones. It’s not like Bryant was fading away from a triple team on every attempt – most of the shots Kobe took versus the Suns were ones that he’s made thousands of times before. They were looks that would usually go down on any other night.
Here’s the footage of Bryant’s 39 points (and 37 shots) so you can decide for yourselves:
So, does that mean Bryant should shoot 37 times every night? Absolutely not. He needs his teammates to step up and be more aggressive. On this night, Kobe was taking what the defense was giving him while trying to will his team to a win. However, in future outings, other guys like Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer are going to need to step up and show that they can play assertively on a consistent basis.
After all, at 36-year-old and 19 years in, Bryant wouldn’t be able to keep up this kind of barrage from the field for all too long. As Phil mentioned, it’s harder than people think to put up good shots in the NBA.