Kobe is not (solely) responsible for the Lakers' struggles. In fact, I'd list the inability of Howard to erase the roster's defensive weaknesses, the crazy injury situation, and Gasol's deterioration, in that order, as the primary reasons for failure on the court. But Kobe is the only person who can ruin Kobe Bryant's historic season, because he is the only one who can invalidate its merits. And Kobe Bryant's defense is completely invalidating his unprecedented offensive success.
To call Kobe Bryant's defense this season bad is to call the Pacific Ocean big, or the sun hot. He hasn't just been bad and he's not just a liability. His presence on the defensive end of the court has actually become a detriment, in the truest sense of the word. And the worst part? He's not failing to play defense. He has willingly decided that he no longer needs to try