Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 1/30/13
Midway through his 17th season, has Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant reinvented himself as a point guard? Over the past three games, Bryant has led to the Lakers to a three-game winning streak, dishing 39 assists while averaging just 16.3 points a game. Bryant's new style of play is the key to turning may help his team's dismal 20-25 start to the season. Is this pass-first Kobe Bryant nothing but a phase or is he here to stay? "When I focus in on something, I become obsessed about it. I want to be perfect at it. It's my personality," Bryant said. "If I was to be a point guard, I'd obsess over it and I wouldn't stop until I got it absolutely right." Is playmaking his new obsession? "Can't you tell?" asked Bryant. If you were to ask some former Lakers, Shaquille O'Neal perhaps, Bryant's singular focus can get in the way of the team concept. What if Bryant's compulsion is the team concept? Over in the other locker room at Staples Center, Chris Paul averages 9.7 assists nightly. Bryant's recent 13 a game would lead the league ahead of the now-injured Rajon Rondo's 11.1. "What do you think I'm going to stand here and say I wasn't going to be the best," said Bryant about where he'd rank as a point guard. Bryant has noticed the impact he's having on his teammates. "You see everybody else gain confidence from playing well off of it - so first and foremost that's what I enjoy," said Bryant. "Secondly, because most of you guys in the media thought I couldn't do it, so it's pretty funny." The biggest criticism of Bryant's career has been ball-hogging, even in winning five titles. Maybe now in his later days, Bryant's drive will be to rewrite the book. The Lakers need him to sustain the pass-first mindset if they want to survive the season. "I can do it. I'm like Neo . . . ," said Bryant, referring to the Keanu Reeves character from "The Matrix." Does Bryant love passing now, like he has always loved scoring? "I enjoy doing it. I prepare for each game. I look strategically at where defenses are going to be coming from and how to put guys in the right place to be successful," Bryant said. "My idol was Magic (Johnson) growing up." The sample size is too small to draw any conclusions, but the Lakers have been a notably better team over the last three games. With 37 games left in the season, the margin for error is slim, but the Lakers may still salvage this thing. In Tuesday night's 111-106 victory over the New Orleans Hornets, Bryant's 11th assist came with 1:44 left in the game to Earl Clark with the Hornets down by just a point. Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison hit the next two field goals for the Lakers. It wasn't until the final seconds when Bryant hit a pair of free throws, with the game already in hand. Bryant needs to embrace the notion that he can be the best closer in the game with the pass instead of the shot. Maybe he finally has. -Eric Pincus
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’


Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker