Kobe Bryant is by far the greatest player in Los Angeles Lakers history, and no one, not even LeBron James himself can even put his legacy in jeopardy regardless of what he’s able to accomplish dressed in purple and gold.
The Black Mamba has always drawn a lot of heat for his supposed selfishness and the fact that he had a scoring mentality because he sometimes refused to pass to wide open teammates and rathered take the difficult shot himself.
Nonetheless, if you take a look at some of the point guards Kobe played with, you’d understand that other than Shaq, Gasol, Ariza, Odom, Bynum and Metta World Peace, Kobe didn’t really have many talents next to him.
Considering coach Jackson thrived with the triangle offense and that made true playmakers a bit expendable, this makes a lot of sense, and had he played next to players of the likes of Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul (a trade that the league actually vetoed), things couldn’t be a bit different. Today, we’ll rank the point guards that joined Kobe throughout his NBA journey.
Others: Chucky Atkins, Smush Parker, Ron Harper, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, Brian Shaw, Derek Harper, Steve Blake, Lindsey Hunter, Tyronn Lue, Mike Penberthy, Jannero Pargo, Tierre Brown, Shammond Williams.
5. Ramon Sessions
Ramon Sessions looked like a stud in the making ever since the Los Angeles Lakers landed him, and even though it winds up being just a fluke, his explosiveness and speed made him a great compliment next to Bryant early on.
Eventually, the point guard will continue his never-ending journey in the league as a backup playmaker, so it’s pretty crazy to wonder how his career would have fared had he played for a team with more room to grow as a scorer.
4. Nick Van Exel
Nick Van Exel is really remembered by most Lakers fans as a prolific scorer and willing facilitator from his two-season tenure dressed in purple and gold from 1996 to 1998, averaging just under 15 points and 8 dimes a game.
Even though the team eventually traded Nick to the Denver Nuggets in order to give Kobe more shots, he’ll always be remembered for helping the team win 56 and 61 wins in the two campaigns he played in the Staples.
3. Steve Nash
Steve Nash is the best point guard Kobe Bryant ever played with in the Lakers, but truth to be told, the Nash version the Lakers had was far from what we were used to seeing from him, mostly because of injuries.
The aging Canadian was never able to actually suit up and play, and he had lost most of his change of pace and ability to knock down pull up jumpers. Nevertheless, he still had outstanding ball-handling skills, playmaking abilities and basketball IQ
2. Gary Payton
Gary Payton is one of the best and most underrated point guards in the history of the game, but he was far from his prime when he decided to join forces with Kobe, Shaq and Karl Malone to create the infamous ‘Fab Four’.
Payton still did his part, especially in the defensive end of the floor, while Kobe and Shaq handled most of the offensive duties. Still, this team was humiliated by the Detroit Pistons in 5 games in the NBA Finals.
1. Derek Fisher
Even though Derek Fisher may not be the most skilled point guard of them all, and some may even argue that he was never starting point guard material, Bryant find the most success next to the sharpshooter than next to any of the others.
Fisher was a great fit next to Kobe because of his three-point shooting expertise and the fact that he rathered play off-ball instead of being a ball dominant playmaker. He played with Kobe in all of the 5 Championships, single-handedly led a comeback against Boston in the 2010 finals, and knocked down a buzzer beater to win the game vs San Antonio.