Kobe needs help FAST
After a coaching change and losing perhaps today’s best reliable sixth man to a rival, do the Los Angeles Lakers have what it takes to hang in there until the playoffs?
Add to that the fact that their main man, Kobe Bryant, is playing through pain as we speak. He has had his share of problems with his knees and has been lately trying to shrug off a right hand wrist injury.
But at the rate that Kobe is playing, you would think that the Black Mamba is 100% fit. Can you imagine a guy trying to lead his team every night and practically assuring the team a 30 point production more or less? That is some feat!
However let me assure you, it takes a lot of guts and heart to see a guy play through such agony but apparently Kobe needs to do so.
With a new system that has yet to reap its fruits under head coach Mike Brown, basketball critics may more or less understand the struggles that the Lakers are going through. But the question is on whether the chemistry factor is the only thing bugging the ballclub after being dethroned by the Dallas Mavericks last year?
The shortened NBA season is something that has not been kind for the Lakers. After a vocal pitch in trying to land star point guard Chris Paul prior to the start of the games in December, things do not seem to be the same over in Hollywood.
In fact, the Lakers seemed to have lost more than gained in that transaction. Lamar Odom, the same player that Kobe had batted for to be retained last year made it clear that he wanted out, not wanting to play for a team that failed to realize who they were giving up.
And as you all know, Odom eventually ended up with the most unlikely team in the Dallas Mavericks, the same tormentor who ruled the Western Division last year.
To date, no update on where Howard may end up has cropped up although the Lakers and the New Jersey Nets seem to be the frontrunners in possibly acquiring “Superman” soon.
And until that time comes, you can sense that there is something wrong inside the Lakers camp, an odd feeling that is obviously disrupting harmony from within.
In short, the Lakers seem to be far from the solid cast that ruled the NBA in succession prior to last year, a big gamble that Mitch Kupchak got himself into when he instigated that Chris Paul trade that went for naught.
Then there is the absence of Metta World Peace (or Ron Artest) who has been a non-factor thus far.
Artest as we all know was instrumental in that title conquest of the Lakers over the Celtics two years ago and it seems that the name change has done more bad than good.
The Lakers did get good recruits this year. They got Jason Kapono, Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy to beef up their roster but this has apparently not been showing.
As of this writing, the Lakers tote a 14-10 record, just half a game ahead of the Mavericks.
There will only be 66 games this season and at the pace that the games are played, one can only wonder up to when Kobe will be able to hold up the fort although Andrew Bynum has been a reliable alternative for coach Brown.
Should the Lakers apply the rest your star concept being used by other teams right now?
The answer to that is pretty unsafe at this point. Considering that only Pau Gasol and Bynum have been viable alternatives to keep the Lakers’ heads above water for the time-being is a big risk that may eventually backfire.
There is no denying that Kobe needs to find another way to play through the injuries he is currently nursing to help his team make it to the playoffs. With about 42 games remaining in their regular season schedule, it seems that Kobe and the Lakers are indeed going to have to suck it up and try as they might ensure that they live through this shortened NBA season.
At some point something is got to give but do not tell that to Kobe. The guy is a winner but you have to wonder if that includes risking graver damage to his wrist and knees if he isn’t careful.
Bryant needs help fast and if that is not available in the market, his teammates better step up and provide him the boost that he needs.
Definitely he cannot do it alone and if the Lakers plan to take it to the top, Bynum, Gasol, Peace, Fisher and Matt Barnes will need to provide the added firepower to uphold a winning tradition which the Lakers are used to.
What about Dwight? Well, nothing is definite for now. But even if Howard would eventually land in LA, there is no guarantee that his inclusion will reap immediate benefits.
Assuming that Dwight Howard does land in LA, the blending and chemistry factor will surely take its toll so if there is something that coach Brown wants to tinker around with as far as the Lakers are concerned, it all starts from within.
By: Brian Joseph Patrick N. Yalung
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