Tag Archives: kobe

Kobe’s Injury Could Mean Change of Plans in Lakerland

Photo by Mark Terrill/Associated Press
Kobe Bryant injured his Achilles last night at the Staple Center. Will the Lakers star ever be the same?

One of the toughest players that the NBA has ever seen tore his Achilles tendon last night at the Staples Center.  Kobe Bryant, who is universally recognized throughout the sports world as one of the grittiest, toughest guys around, will not be able to play through this injury.

Earlier this season, Kobe admitted to the media that next season would probably be his last in the NBA however this injury has now put that in jeopardy. Although he is only 34 years old, this is his 17th NBA regular season to go along with another 236 combined playoff and Olympic contests. Kobe has played over 54,000 minutes in his career. He’s been able to play through some tough injuries in his career and has an incredible amount of “mileage” on his body. Whether this injury hinders Bryant’s availability for next season remains to be seen, however, the much more important question is whether or not Kobe will ever be able to get back to being the same player that we all remember and revere. If he doesn’t then there could be a complete shift in thinking for Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak.

This injury to Kobe effectively ends the Lakers chances of making any type of noise in the playoffs (if they even get there now), however, call me crazy, but this may be a blessing in disguise for a Lakers franchise that has some crucial decisions to make this offseason in regards to their future.

It’s been blatantly obvious to anyone who is paying attention that Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant don’t get along.  Kobe is old school; Dwight is new school.  Kobe is tough minded; Dwight is weak minded.  Kobe is always serious about his craft; Dwight just wants to have fun.  Kobe is the ultimate Alpha-Male; Dwight just ain’t about that life.

With all that being said; Kobe may never be the same player again and Dwight is currently entering what should be the prime years of his career. Think about it…what NBA Center is competing with a healthy Dwight Howard on a nightly basis? We all know damn well that the answer is nobody and so do the Lakers.   Would the Lakers really be willing to lose Howard to free agency in order to keep Kobe Bryant, a player who has meant so much to the franchise but whose future is unclear? To me, the answer is yes because there is another possible scenario in Lakerland that is much less obvious and much more likely.

The Lakers allow Kobe to leave on his own terms, which means rehab and return from a major injury, in effect keeping their relationship in tact with the player  who some consider the greatest Laker of them all. This also means losing Dwight Howard in free agency to a team like Houston who will have the available cap space to offer the maximum 4 year, $87 million dollar contract that Dwight most certainly desires.  This seems like a dumb move right?

Wrong!

Photoshop via http://www.fantasy-sports.com
Could LeBron James end up on the Lakers? It’s a reasonable thought.

What ends up happening is after 2014, Kobe retires and LeBron James becomes a free agent if he chooses to opt out of his contract with Miami.  If the Lakers let Howard leave and Kobe retire on his own terms, they will have enough cap space to max out LeBron next summer.  Don’t rule out this very reasonable and likely possibility because LeBron has goals that reach far beyond basketball and Los Angeles is a place where he can obtain those goals.

There is no such thing as good timing when it comes to an injury from a player’s perspective, but from a management perspective, I can see this being the catalyst for much needed change in Lakerland.

Lakers Botch Shaq’s Retired Jersey

nba_u_shaqraft_cr_600

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Notice Something a bit off?

It is obvious the Lakers have advanced their uniform design up in the rafters, but that is not the issue.

Can’t put your finger on what’s wrong? Well, either Shaq was so narcissistic that he wore “O’Neal” on the front where the “Lakers” logo should be, or he flaunted a v-back (a v-neck shirt in the back).

The Lakers acknowledged the mistake and have plans to fix the uniform.

Conspiracy theory: Kobe was actually responsible for this  in effort to one-up Shaq, again. Even if he didn’t do it, you can guarantee Kobe is having a good chuckle knowing that his jersey will receive finer attention to detail when his time comes. Oh yeah,  Kobe also had a triple-double on the day Shaq’s jersey was retired. Coincidence? Don’t be so naive!

Lunch: Purple and Gold Can’t Fight the Old

Kobe Bryant finished with 30 points but was entirely outplayed by Russell Westbrook (Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Kobe Bryant finished with 30 points but was entirely outplayed by Russell Westbrook (Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Stop it. Stop. Just stop it.

No, I’m not talking about the Harlem Shake.

I’m talking about you talking about the Lakers. Stop it.

Last nailed was the ultimate Reality Check for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nothing embodied that check more than two stats:

  1.  The Thunder, at the bottom of the league with 15.5 turnovers per game, had 2 last night.
  2. Russell Westbrook*, athletic, speedy and aggressive, had 37 points to go with 10 rebounds. and was far more efficient than usual.

*=Westbrook also played opposite Kobe, and even stripped Bryant to seal the game.

The Lakers are a team built to play one way, they are coached to play another way, and they can win if they play a third way.

And they don’t play any of those ways. They just play old.

And yet, they lead news stories almost every night, and there is grumblings that they may still be able to contend in the West.

No más.

When the Lakers are in the half-court game, they aren’t terrible. They’re ranked in the top 10 in points and offensive efficiency, averaging 102 points at home. But it’s not their defense necessarily that’s the problem; it’s the way they give up points. They give up more fast break points than any team in the league (16.6), and are in the bottom three surrendering points in the paint per game (44.9).

Wait that is the defense. That’s and old, slow defense. That’s a defense unwilling to play physical, or even hustle back.  That’s a defense that not even Phil could save. Kobe can talk trash and the Lakers can win back-to-backs, but they wouldn’t be able to compete in a series against the top five teams in the West.

It would be best for everyone involved if the Lakers missed the playoffs this year. It would force management’s hand, maybe giving them cause to move Pau Gasol. But the Lakers don’t belong on this side of the fence this year. This roster can’t take it, and it has nothing to do with basketball strategy or shot selection. They’re old and it happens and its okay. But please, talk about Paul George, or how good the Warriors might be, or whatever is going on between the NBA and Lil’ Wayne.

But not the Lakers. They’re toast.