Handing Out Grades for Lakers 2012 Regular Season

Derek Fisher & Ramon Sessions  Derek Fisher meant a great deal to Lakers fan base, and played a pivotal role in multiple championships. That said, we have to be able to be honest about him being a crucially sub par option as a starting point guard at this point in his career. Not his fault, but the reality. I won’t be offering a grade for Fisher, as I wish him the best of luck (not really) in Oklahoma City. Even though Ramon Sessions only played 23 games in a Laker uniform, the impact he contributed to their 15-8 record over that stretch is enough to judge Sessions by. Up and down statistically, Sessions (also hampered by a sore shoulder) has shown flashes, both literally and figuratively, of brilliance and has Laker fans dreaming of what could potentially be with a full off-season and training camp for Sessions to become truly acclimated to the offense and teammates. Sessions isn’t flashy or out-spoken by any means, but along with blazing speed and a budding skill-set, he also possesses the type of ‘all-business’ demeanor that meshes well with this talented starting unit. Sessions’ Grade: B

Kobe Bryant  Allow me to preface my analysis by reminding everyone this has been Bryant’s 16th season. Including the playoffs, Bryant has played just under 58,750 minutes over his career. If you’re looking for me to say anything negative about his season, then you’re either seriously deluded or simply don’t understand the historical significance of such facts. Fox Sports Analyst Jason Whitlock may think it’s a joke to consider Bryant an MVP candidate, but I think he at least deserves to be in the discussion given everything he’s endured over the course of the season. Go ahead and point out his shooting percentage or amount of shots taken. Try balancing between the pain of a torn ligament in your shooting wrist with the added responsibility of having two members of your starting lineup (MWP/Fisher) and your bench unable to create a shot or even knock down an open look for the better part of the season. Much like my repeated defense of OKC’s Westbrook’s shooting totals, you cannot fault a player for being willing to take/make the plays and shots his teammates simply are not capable of. If anything, you should commend Bryant for being willing to do the very thing so many NBA fans crucify LeBron James over…in the biggest moments, on the largest stage, Kobe Bryant does not care about what you think of his shooting percentage. He simply wants to win. Overlooked due to the melee that surrounded MWP, Bryant displayed exactly why you are never out of any game he plays in until the final buzzer. After starting 3-14 and feeding into his detractors’ every dream, Bryant hit big shot after big shot (6-12 from 4 minute mark in the 4th through the end of double-OT) including two 3-pointers over the outstretched arms of Thabo Sefolosha. Since you’ll never rationalize with the irrational (doubters), I’ll leave it at that. Bryant’s Grade: A

Next: Our bench has been under attack all year, but it has come on in the second half.

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