Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lakers Roster Review: Kobe Bryant

Age: 32

NBA Experience: 14 years

Contract Status: Signed thru 2013-14

2010-11 Averages: 25.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 4.7apg, 45% FG, 32% 3PT, 82% FT

By Kobe standards the 2010-11 season was a failure. You won’t find any real statistical evidence to support that statement. Aside from his minutes per game dipping to the lowest they’ve been since he was a 6th man, Bryant’s stats were consistent with what we’ve come to expect from Mamba.

However when it comes to Kobe anything short of winning an NBA title is considered failure.

This might have been the most difficult season for Bryant to endure from a basketball standpoint. He finally had a summer of rest after maintaining one of the most hectic schedules in the history of hoops over the course of the last five years. Problem was it wasn’t a summer of rest for Bryant so much as it was a summer of recovery. Doctor’s orders prohibited KB24 from engaging in any activity thanks to knee surgery.

Early in the preseason it was evident that this was going to be an uphill battle for the game’s best player. Kobe struggled to get into game shape, playing limited minutes while hardly participating in practice.

All things being considered, that Bryant was till able to play in all 82 regular season games while maintain his career averages despite fewer minutes is a testament to both his talents and work ethic. Having said all of that there is no denying the fact that the wear and tear of almost a decade and half of NBA service is taking its toll on Kobe.

Many have been quick to author the demise of Bryant but they’re only looking at the glass as half empty.

No arguing there are health concerns going forward for Kobe. But we’re talking about one of greatest competitors the sports world has ever seen. What makes Bryant a true legend is that his game always evolves relative to what the needs of his team are. I’d bet the house on seeing a much different Kobe come the start of next season…whenever that might happen.

While we may never see the Mamba that torched the league back in ’06 we definitely haven’t seen the last of his days of dominance. So long as Kobe is on the roster I like the chances of the Lakers being title contenders.
Kobe Bryant

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