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Kobe Bryant explains why Pistons should have foreseen Kwame Brown’s struggles

Kobe Bryant, via Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

But like, the game before we traded for Pau, were playing Detroit and I had like 40 points towards the end of the game. This is back when Detroit had Rasheed [Wallace], Chauncey [Billups] and those guys, so we had no business being in the game. So down the stretch of the game, they put in a box and one. So I’m surrounded by these players, Detroit players, and Kwame is under the basket, all by himself. Literally, like all by himself. So I pass him the ball, he bobbled it and it goes out of bounds.

“So we go back to the timeout and I’m [upset], right? He goes, ‘I was wide open.’ ‘Yeah, I know.’ This is how I’m talking to him, like, during the game. I said, ‘You’re going to be open again, Kwame, because Rasheed is just totally ignoring you.’ He said, ‘Well, if I’m open don’t throw it to me.’ I was like, ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘Don’t throw it to me.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ He said, well, ‘I’m nervous. If I catch it and they foul me, I won’t make the free throws.’ I said, ‘Hell no!’

“I go to Phil [Jackson], I say, ‘Hey Phil, take him out of the game.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, let him figure it out.’ So, we lose the game, I go the locker room, I’m steaming. Steaming. I’m furious.

The next offseason, the Pistons gave Kwame Brown a two-year, $8 million contract. Maybe they should have paid a bit more attention to that 2008 game.* I understand you can’t get a perfect player for $4 million per year, and Brown played well for a stretch in Detroit, but I wouldn’t want him helping to shape the team’s identity.

*Kobe had 11 turnovers to Brown’s none in, but I supposed Kwame can’t be charged with a turnover if he never gains possession of the ball. It’s a good example of how blindly relying on stats can be misleading.

9 Comments

  • Oct 10, 20112:57 pm
    by Levi Thieman

    Reply

    JOHN HOLLINGER, A WELL KNOWN AND HIGHLY RESPECTED NBA ANALYST, SAID THAT #108 IS A COMPLETE SNUB FOR RODNEY STUCKEY. HE CITED STUCKEY’S P.E.R. AND HIS DEFENSIVE PROWESS. HE ALSO WENT ON TO SAY THAT THERE COULD BE A STRONG CASE MADE FOR STUCKEY AS A TOP 50 NBA PLAYER. I AM NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS ANALYSIS. HOWEVER, IT IS REFRESHING TO HEAR SOMEONE WHO IS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED SAYING SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT THE DETROIT PISTONS

    • Oct 10, 20113:49 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Dude, why the caps lock? Don’t you know such comments are an eye sore? But yeah, it is nice to see Hollinger giving Stuckey his due (and in fact more than his due but that I suppose compensates for all those out there who see him as less good than Barea).

  • Oct 10, 20113:37 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    Kwame Brown – good kid but one of the worst professional basketball players i ever had to watch in a Pistons uniform. And the sad thing – he was the best center off the bench the Pistons had on their roster those 2 years

  • Oct 10, 20114:17 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    Take it from me and my personal experience. There’s little or nothing that can be done about it if a guy has bad hands. It’s possible that Kobe’s pass could have been handled by every single one of the other 448 players in the league at the time; Kobe must have thrown a hot pass there or something. If he’s truly all alone, why not a bounce-pass to be safe? Kwame Brown was the absolute least of our problems when he was here, and he was worth what we paid him.

    • Oct 11, 20117:09 am
      by Murph

      Reply

      Yes…I’m always reluctant to pile on Kwame.  I’m happy that he’s enjoying a certain amount of success in Charlotte.  I hope the ‘Cats re-sign him.

      I’ve never seen a player who is more effected by the support (or lack of support) of fans, teammates and coaches, than Kwame.  When fans and teammates support him, he plays reasonably well.  When fans or teammates get on him, he plays his worst.

  • Oct 10, 20115:50 pm
    by sop

    Reply

    Very funny that this shows up the same day that the ESPN Rumors section reports Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer says the Bobcats should make resigning Kwame their number one priority. haha.

  • Oct 11, 201110:35 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    *Kobe had 11 turnovers to Brown’s none in, but I supposed Kwame can’t be charged with a turnover if he never gains possession of the ball. It’s a good example of how blindly relying on stats can be misleading.
     
    I don’t know anyone who advocates for blindy accepting stats, but the above statement is  misleading. I could point out that you’re simply taking Kobe’s word for it, instead of watching game film, all while ignoring Kwame’s perspective, but that’s not even the crux of the problem.
    The real problem is isolating one possession from a game where Kobe was clearly playing poorly (11 turnovers!!!) and ignoring that we have years worth of data on Kobe’s turnover tendencies. The enormous sample size we have is large enough to normalize things like turnovers and distribute evenly over time. 

    In other words, sure, there are probably plenty turnovers credited to Kobe that would be the fault of the “receiver.” But conversely, it is the case that plenty of Kobe’s mistakes (like errant passses) have been recovered by his teammates, and thus Kobe isn’t charged for a turnover when his play warranted it. 

    I don’t have a problem when people argue against stats in general or against blindly using stats. Those kinds of conversations are a lot of fun. But the argument needs to be credible, and this one just isn’t. Kwame fumbling a pass that may or may not have been a good pass doesn’t do anything to undermine statistical analysis, even if it is blind.

    • Oct 13, 201112:53 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      You don’t think Kwame has fumbled away more than his share of passes, without ever gaining possession? Wouldn’t that mean any measure that relies on turnovers would overrate his value?

  • Oct 11, 20118:42 pm
    by Eric

    Reply

    too bad dumars didnt know this. 4 million per year?

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