DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 03: Nene Hilario #31 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket against Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on February 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
This week was a close race for Player of the Week. Kobe Bryant's name remains permanently etched on the list of candidates, and he's won far more often than I would like to say. He's always there, and always performing. Except for the success of the team, other players are going to force this into an actual competition worth seriously considering. Including last Saturday's game versus the Bucks, the Lakers received considerable contributions from Kobe, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and rookie Andrew Goudelock en route to a 3-2 record for the week following last night's loss to the Jazz.
As I mentioned already, Kobe is Kobe. I'm tired of giving him this award, because the other Lakers must step up if this team is going to be successful. The biggest weakness is depth, especially at guard, where scoring and play-making duties are made by these players: Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe & Kobe. If you want to describe the Lakers' lack of talent at guard outside of Kobe, all you need to tell anyone is that Jason Kapono plays meaningful minutes for them. Ummm....yeah, okay? With that said, it's no wonder the rookie Goudelock has been given a chance to show what he's got. He's making the most of his opportunity by being aggressive enough that it seems Mike Brown has given him the green light when he's on the floor, and has done it well enough that he's been dubbed "Mini-Mamba" by none other than the new king of giving compliments by comparing others to himself, Kobe. You're welcome. In 5 games, he averaged 9.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 46.3% shooting in 20.4 minutes per game. The Lakers need production from a guard and it's nice to see another player even want to step up. Keep in mind, he's still a rook, and I can't help but think of Shannon Brown's fall off. I'll take it long as it lasts.
This week, we finally started to see a glimpse of Bynum and Gasol becoming the double-headed frontcourt monster we expect them to be. Both scored and rebounded in bunches, yet managed to not get in each other's way, while continuing to find open shooters (who actually knocked down shots). Our big three actually looked like a big three. Pau's resurgence has come since reiterating his desire for his role back as main post threat, and Drew has seemed to ease back into a tertiary option that suits him better. You haven't heard anything about Kobe overshooting lately, huh? It helps when the bigs are aggressive and efficient. I could hand either of them this award, but I'm going with Drew because he finally earned that All-Star nod. Congrats, young fella. I'm impressed how he's dealt with this season with nothing but Dwight chatter (of which I'm very guilty). I don't know what will happen anymore, but we're in good hands no matter what. Now, let's get some wins on the road.
Here are his stats:
19.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 2.0 blocks, 2.4 turnovers on 64.5% shooting in 35.2 minutes per game.