The Los Angeles Lakers are off to an abysmal 0-5 start, many predicted the historic franchise to struggle this season but a winless start coupled with disjointed rhythm in their play style has heightened the criticism.
Kobe Bryant despite playing in a team that is in no uncertain terms bereft of talent has faced the brunt of the blame, but the criticism has been aimed towards his characteristically selfish play and poor shot selection.
The returning Black Mamba has continued the high volume shooting he would produce in his prime years in the NBA, at 36-years-old his incredible bulk of field goals has began a wave of negativity surrounding the play of the Lakers shooting guard.
Bryant has actually missed more shots so far this season than all but three players in the league have taken, he went 14-of-37 from the field in a loss Tuesday to the Phoenix Suns.
His scoring average may be very impressive, he ranks only second in the league with 27.6 points per game behind Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson, although more worryingly for his team he doesn't rank in top 50 for player efficiency ratings (PER).
- Kobe Bryant reaffirms Lakers loyalty by rejecting trade talk
- Kobe Bryant has perfect answer to reporter's stupid Lakers question
- Kobe Bryant heaps praise on Klay Thompson
Former Lakers legend Magic Johnson was the first man to come to the defence of Bryant, despite their dreadful start, the 5-time NBA Champion believes his former team are playing an exciting brand of basketball.
He also applauded the thrilling play of the Black Mamba and despite a lot of disagreement, he believes that Bryant could be in the race for Most Valuable Player honours, here's what Johnson tweeted:
There may be some questionable players on that particular list compiled by the NBA legend, but Johnson's opinion on everything basketball is held in high regard and he appreciates the effort shown by Kobe so far this season.
Other media members were quick to hound the shot selection and volume of Bryant, many took to twitter to voice their opinions and explain how they believe he isn't getting his teammates involved.
One particular case involved analyst Bomani Jones who blasted Bryant for his absurd amount of shots in the loss to the Suns, however former head coach of the shooting guard at the Lakers, Phil Jackson, came quickly to the defence of Kobe.
Creating a good shot
Jackson makes a very important point that is often overlooked when judging a player like Bryant and in separate cases such as Russell Westbrook.
Players can be criticised for taking a lot of shots but the real negative view should be taking bad shots, if you can create a look for yourself that is deemed a high percentage field goal, coaches will be demanding you to take them.
Kobe Bryant after 19 seasons in the league understands every aspect to the game, even down to the dimensions of the court. Without having the athleticism he had when he was younger, the shooting guard must now position himself and work his way to the best areas of the court to produce good shots.
He may shoot a large volume of field goals but a player of his ability you will want to take those kind of shots, if anyone has the right to criticise Kobe for his shot selection than it is certainly someone of the basketball mind of Phil Jackson, and in this case he is firmly in the defence of Kobe Bryant.