The Los Lakers have their superstar Kobe Bryant back, however, winning games have been pretty hard to come by recently since the Black Mamba entered the fold. Since Bryant has been back, the Lakers have lost four of five, and not particularly impressive in most of those games.
This really shouldn’t be unexpected as Bryant makes his way back on to the court, the rest of the Lakers are going to have to readjust their games around Bryant and vice versa. It may seem simple, but the Mamba’s style of play can take a while to get used to.
Watching Bryant play has been a joy, as he is one of the all time great players in NBA history. Considering he is in his mid thirties and having as much wear and tear on his body, it is safe to assume that his level of play won’t approach that several years ago. I’d imagine to that of when Michael Jordan played with the Washington Wizards, where it was just a complete grind to watch a formerly dominant athlete have to deal with no longer physically overwhelming opposing players. For Bryant that won’t be a problem as he will shoot as many times as he wants, especially on a team that isn’t competing for a title.
Bryant’s best buddy on the team Pau Gasol may be nearing the end of his tenure with the Lakers. This past week he griped about not being used correctly by head coach Mike D’Antoni, with coach D’Antoni responding by ripping Gasol’s effort. This kind of development would be something that would’ve worked for big chief triangle, Phil Jackson, but D’Antoni just doesn’t have that cache (nobody does!). Gasol would probably be best off being shipped off to another team, but his contract is quite hefty, and with diminishing returns on the court, it will be a tough trade market for the Lakers to get anything of significant value for him.
Jordan Hill has continued to be a revelation as he has kept is production up, scoring and rebounding better than anyone could have ever imagined. It is fun to watch a player develop and get a chance to succeed after he is known as an afterthought. Whether or not he can keep this kind of production up, who knows? In the meantime, the Lakers should be trying to ship him off with Gasol, as his trade value soars with his production. Hill is a free agent after this year, and with him receiving three and half million dollars, it is safe to assume that his next contract will be significantly bigger. The Lakers will not be breaking the bank for Jordan Hill, so why not get something from him while they can?
If the Lakers do start selling off pieces, it will be fascinating to see how Bryant handles the moves around him. He only has a few years left in the NBA, and I’m willing to bet he’d love to go out with that 6th championship, and how the Lakers plan on getting him that is going to be enthralling to watch.