According to ESPN, Kobe Bryant is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn rotator cuff (shoulder injury). This marks the third consecutive season Bryant will fail to complete due to an injury. The good news for LakersNation, this isn’t a career ending injury– San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills suffered a similar injury back in July of 2014, and recovered successfully, missing only about 7 months. On the flip side of things, Kobe Bryant is 36 years old and not getting any younger, meaning another season ending injury could ultimately take a toll on a player who continues to suffer such a bad string of luck.
While the Lakers are far from making a playoffs run, Kobe continued to be one of the bright spots for the Lakers franchise this season– while many would argue the team has performed better without him, he has given his heart and soul to the game this season, even showing his frustrations during a team practice.
Could this mark the end of an era for Kobe or will he return with the same fire and desire to play the game as we are accustomed to seeing him deliver on a regular basis?
Impacts to the team
Lets see, Kobe averaged 22 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game to a team that ranked 18th in points per game and 22nd in assists per game– most would expect them to struggle offensively, however, I think this is a blessing in disguise, similar to the Chicago Bulls/Derrick Rose issue earlier this season. There now lies an opportunity for several players to flourish and prove themselves in the wake of Kobe’s injury. And while I wouldn’t exactly expect any MVP chants for “Swaggy P”, he has a great opportunity to prove his worth for a team still looking to add some depth and star power to the roster.
With a 17-21 record, the Lakers are close to dead last in the Western Conference, but don’t be surprised if this team finishes with more than 30 wins at the close of the regular season. If you’re a Lakers fan, you should be watching for player growth while looking at which players the team can fare better without.
Stay tuned for updates