The Los Angeles Lakers’ results from this past week have really taken a backseat to the disheartening injury prognosis of Kobe Bryant. While they finished the week splitting four games, it feels like an anecdote in the big picture, especially when considering the new injury for Bryant.
Bryant had been playing pretty well for the Lakers; he was feeling out his team and vice versa, and they seemed to be gearing up for a push into the playoffs. Now that he will be out for at least six weeks, and it is due to a fracture to part of his knee, it doesn’t seem like it is going to end well for the NBA legend.
While Bryant has a mythical work ethic, father time is undefeated and looking like he is taking it to Bryant. Hopefully he can make it back for the sake of fans of the NBA, nobody wants to see a legend go out in such a miserable fashion, much like his old buddy Shaquille O’Neal. Unfortunately, it just seems like Bryant’s body is failing him and may be not capable of withstanding the rigors of playing in the NBA any longer.
Whether or not Bryant does come back this year, and in what condition, the other injuries on this team are just getting to be too much to handle. Pau Gasol, who had played very well earlier in the week against the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves, sat out the game against the Golden State Warriors. Jordan Farmar is out with a hamstring tear, and Steve Blake, who has played very well for the Lakers this year, is out with an injury to his shooting elbow. As much as Lakers fans may not care for him, it is a testament to head coach Mike D’Antoni, that the Lakers sit at only one game below .500, especially in the loaded Western Conference.
The Lakers are now in a difficult position, not knowing what condition Bryant will be in for the remainder of the silly contract extension they just granted him, but also the probability of losing a few pieces they won’t be able to afford, due to their cap situation.
There are a few silver linings to this injury to Bryant, and how it pertains to the Lakers organization. For one, the Lakers had maintained a decent level of success during the beginning of the season, when Bryant was out of the lineup. His style of play can take a while to get used to and can be disruptive to the type of game D’Antoni wants to play.
Bryant’s injury also allows the Lakers to get more experience for Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry, two of the younger perimeter players. Finally, while they were playing better than expected, the Lakers were going to be hard pressed to actually make the playoffs this year, even if everything went right for them. Now that the injuries are piling up for the Lakers, this could get them better draft position, not generally the area where the Lakers have mined their greatest prizes recently, but it is something for Lakers fans to look forward to.
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