Things are not well in Lakerland. They're 1-4, last in the Pacific, and toward the end of last night's loss to Utah, Kobe Bryant gave coach Mike Brown what can only be described as the look. Kobe doesn't hide it when he's angry.
"Just a little bit," he said, practically spitting out the words.
"Nothin' I care to share," he said.
Speculation today has focused on Kobe's potential frustrations with his coach, who has gotten the dreaded vote of confidence from Jim Buss. But we doubt Brown's the problem. The Lakers' struggles stem from their adoption of a quasi-Princeton Offense, relying on motion, improv, and passing—lots of passing. It's been dissected endlessly, but whether it be the new personnel or the fact that they've only played five games or the fact that Steve Nash is out, it's just not working.
Even in Kobe's unfocused anger, he's not lashing out at the concept of the offense or the coach implementing it. After all, it was his idea. Adrian Wojnarowski wrote about how Kobe first raised the possibility of the Princeton look with Brown over the summer, and the two got the lowdown from Princeton Offense vet Eddie Jordan, who was brought in as an assistant a month later. This is Kobe's baby, and he's not mad at the guy who's changing a team's entire offensive philosophy to go along with it. He's mad at the teammates who aren't making it work and making him look like a fool for trying something new.
Dwight Howard wants Bryant to chill:
"I think sometimes as a team we got to be able to not really show our frustrations that much," Howard said after L.A. fell to 1-12 with their preseason record included. "A lot of the guys look at me and Kobe and they feed off us, so we have to do a better job of keeping our frustrations on the inside and just playing through it so our teammates won't get down on themselves. So, we just got to do a better job at that.
"I know [Kobe] was a little frustrated tonight. He wants to win just as bad as all of us do, but we just got to stay together, remember it's a process, and stay focused."
Today at practice, Lakers Nation showed Kobe video of his death stare from last night, and filmed his reaction.
"I don't give a shit how it's interpreted," Bryant said. I'm too old to deal with that stuff, I really am." And then, if you want to read into things, a sign that Kobe's frustrations aren't toward Mike Brown, but some unnamed group of people.
"I've been [Brown's] biggest supporter. You would be frustrated to lose a game…It has nothing to do with one particular person."