Being a huge kobe fan, I'll ignore the PG question for another day
I guess there are numerous factors that can attribute to Kobe Bryant's relatively weaker play.
For one, don't forget that Bryant played a lot, and I mean A LOT, of basketball last year. Carrying the lakers through a rigorous 82 game season, playing crazy-intense basketball throughout the playoffs, going all the way to game-6 against the Celtics (
), playing every exhibition and medal game throughout the Olympics in Beijing, as well as exhibition games of this years season (tweaking a knee in the process). I don't have the numbers, but I am pretty sure that not a single NBA player has played as much basketball as he has within the past year - justifying the TEMPORARILY lack of fresh legs and an increased reliance on pulling up for jump shots instead of being aggressive to the basket.
Second, Kobe opted out of surgery for his finger this past summer. I don't know the severity of that injury, especially since he doesn't wear that infamous finger sleeve anymore, but that could be a reason for the "pushing of shots" that you referred too earlier, hurting the natural rotation of the Mamba's stroke - but of course, this is just an assumption since no one has updated us fans about the injury.
The third reason, I'd have to say could be attributed to psychological adjustments. Ever since the post-Shaq era, Kobe has had to carry the Lakers with his killer-instinct, take no prisoners role on offense and defense. Now that he has a strong supporting cast, he obviously doesn't have to do as much. Because of that, quite honestly I still feel that Kobe Bryant is still adjusting to his new role as a facilitator which he hasn't completely balanced/figured out yet. It's always easier to get "hot" when you start early and have a feel for the defender/defense in front of you early on in the game. These days, Kobe is looking to pass first and score later, and this attitude seems to inhibit his psyche from just blowing by and scoring on opposing defenses early, and letting it carry on to the second half (EX: last night).
P.S If that is enough. I have an A**hole of a Korean friend that wears purple hyperdunks and a Laker hat on every gameday. He didn't wear it yesterday, choosing to wear Jordans instead (what a prick), and what do you know, Kobe has one of the worst shooting days of this early season.
But seriously, I think Kobe will be fine. He has had flashes of excellence this season so you know he hasn't completely lost it. Plus, Phil has minimized his minutes (going from last year's 10th in most minutes played to 62th this year) giving me hope that he will turn it on in the latter half of the season. And if that doesn't work, maybe he could switch back to #8 so he remembers the power of 81 points.