Originally Posted by Pointguard
When Kobe was hot he was given dominion over the team in the past. He shot more and made more. But now he has to incorporate a more dominant player into the offense. So he leaves his instinctive game for a more thinking man's type of game. These things throw off a super scorer's game. Kobe is just one of those guys that I think drives best with his foot heavy on the pedal. As long as he's imposing his will, he is who he is - doing what he wants to do.
I don't care who you are, when you have to leave beast mode, its depressing. Especially when you were winning too and a hair away from having won the scoring title. Throw in the fact that the press is going to say he doesn't have it anymore... its human nature to fight that. And its a guy that plays Shaq's position too that he has to cater to. Even if his attitude is great, he still has to be a real thinker to accomodate DH. And beast mode will have to be every few games rather than a regular expectation.
The Olympic ball seems to mess with players who didn't grow up in the FIBA atmosphere. Not only Kobe (Durant, Ray Allen, Lebron, Wade) all took awhile for them to get it together after their last time doing it. But who knows at what point it doesn't bother them anymore.
And although much younger and in his prime, he was able to accomadate Shaq (who was better) and still get his. Back then, he was young and had a passion to prove himself. Now, he has nothing to prove and although he is an instinctive scorer...he's proven that he can adjust.
With Steve Nash helping to ease ball-handling, playmaking pressure and hopefully creating many more easy shots for Kobe, we should probably see his fg% inflate a bit from last season. Not to mention the extra attention that Dwight will draw that can help Kobe's spacing for better shot attempts as well.
I fully understand what you're saying though, I just don't believe his fg% will be anywhere near as bad as people are predicting. I believe quite the opposite. Black Mamba will be returning this season. I can almost guarantee it.