Lakers' problems stem from Kobe

Opposing GM, coach and scout point to Bryant for Lakers' ills

Updated: December 20, 2012, 2:13 PM ET
By Chris Broussard | ESPN the Magazine
Kobe BryantAP Photo/Gerald HerbertDo the Lakers' problems stem from Kobe Bryant? Yes, says an opposing GM, coach and scout.

What Kobe Bryant is doing this season is both phenomenal and unprecedented. No player in NBA history -- not Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, not Moses Malone, not Karl Malone, not any of the league's famed ironmen -- have come close to scoring as Bryant has in his 17th professional season.

Heck, most greats -- guys like Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and Jerry West -- didn't even play 17 seasons.

So for Bryant to be leading the league in scoring at a 29.5 ppg clip while shooting a career-high 47.7 percent from the floor is nothing short of incredible. Before Bryant, Abdul-Jabbar had been the gold standard for well-worn scorers, averaging 23.4 points in his 17th season. But Abdul-Jabbar, who was 38 during that season, was clearly not near his prime, averaging just 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, well below his career averages of 11.2 and 2.6.

Bryant, while not the athlete he once was, is still producing at the same level he always has, posting 5.2 rebounds (5.3 is his career average), 5.0 assists (4.7 career) and 1.6 steals (1.5 career).

So it's very difficult to argue that Bryant is doing anything wrong in what statistically is one of his best seasons. And numbers never lie. But there are other numbers that say Bryant's offensive blitzkrieg is actually hurting the struggling Los Angeles Lakers more than helping them.