With the great Kobe Bryant’s career winding down and his expected retirement in two or three or four years, one wonders: Who will step into those very big pair of Nikes and how good will he be?
Well, the hardest thing in sports is to follow a legend, and whoever follows Kobe will have a legacy that they will never be able to follow. I mean, let’s face it, we could have the number one pick in the draft for five straight years and not get a player who even sniffs Kobe’s talents and accomplishments. And having watched various athletes replace living legends, I honestly pity the man who ends up taking Kobe’s spot.
But as I say, sometimes one wonders, what unfoirtunate kid out there somewhere will have that very heavy task dumped on his shoulders?
Could it be we are already finding out? I have to say the rookie Andrew Goudelock really impresses me. It’s not just one thing, but many. He seems unusually calm and effective for a rookie. And he is showing there is much more to his game than a good shooters eye. The way he moves, the way he penetrates, the scoop shot, the way he passes out very fast when covered. All these things tell me he has put many hours of hard work on top of his obvious physical talents. And that’s what it takes to not only succeed at some level in the NBA, but to thrive.
Yes, I know it is so very early. But when one looks at him, if this kid continues to work on his game, all his game, during the next few Kobe Bryant years, how good can he get when and if it’s time for him to take over that role? Can he be something really nice? A player we learn to enjoy and love?
Right now, by necessity, he is playing the point. But in all probability, his true home will be at shooting guard. And I have to think, this kid, based on what he is showing so early in his career, may be something really good.
I have been wracking my memory to try think of when we last had a true rookie who has shown so much game, so much confidence, so much ability and so much polish of many hours of hard work.
Was it Nick Van Exel? Or Eddie Jones? Kobe himself? The fact that I have to think back that far tells me a lot about what I am seeing in Andrew.
Yes, I wish the kid was couple inches past his listed six foot three. But there have been many players, some of them great, who overcame a height deficit by sheer talent and willingness to bring out every inch of that talent with hard work and effort. And I have a funny feeling Andrew may prove to be one of them.
When Kobe leaves on that hard day, we will not replace him. But someone will have to play that position. And it would make that difficult transition much more palatable if we have a true players, a guy who is not just a body, but someone who brings real top skills, true top shelf ability, a Laker who has to be accounted for by the other team each night, who can throw real fear into the opposition.
Is Andrew Goudelock that guy? Well, he has a long road to travel and much will remain to be seen, but I have to say, from what I have seen so far, it is just possible that in a couple years, we won’t have to ask, “Who will replace Kobe when he leaves?” We may already have that answer. And that would be a good thing, for an otherwise very sad day.
What do you guys think of this kid so far? When was the last time you saw a Lakers true rookie show what this kid has? Who was that player? How far back was it? And do you think he may end up the answer to a very hard trivia question for any player to be the answer for: Who replaced Kobe Bryant?
A couple side notes: Congrats on the team for beating down the Bobcats. No, it was not some great win over a tough team. But a blowout over a team they SHOULD blow out. And that’s what made the win nice. They did what they should do. The team looked really sharp and energetic tonight. Nice defense, nice ball movement, nice offense, good rebounding. You can’t pick your opponents, but you can decide how you will play them. With the win we have a little streak going into the hard six game road trip. Hopefully it carries over and we can start to work out the road bug-a-boos we have been suffering so far this year. If we do, then the team as a whole takes a good step up in the right direction. Let’s see what eventuates here on this trip.
Congrats to Drew for a nice performance and his selection as the starter in the all star game. Some will say there is no good competition. But there are good relative candidates he beat out, including Mark Gasol among others. Drew did take it, he earned it, and for him and Lakers fans, that is well and good to see.
And finally, when the game first came on, I had the Bobcats channel going. Before I switched to the Lakers broadcast, I heard one Bobcat announcer say to the other, “Well, it’s too bad Jordan can’t suit up for us tonight.”
As soon as he said that, I thought, If I were his another announcer, I would have shot back, “Or too bad he won’t sell the team to a good owner.”
Now yes, I fully understand had I said that old MJ would have had me fired and dragged away from the microphone in about twenty seconds flat. But boy, it sure would have been taxed every bit of my will power to just bite my tongue and not blurt out that rejoinder that so readily came to mind!