Burning Question in LA: Will Kobe Sit Out?

Los Angeles Lakers’ fans, from the moment that they saw Kobe Bryant injure his leg on Dec. 17, 2013, until the past month, had no doubt whatsoever that at the tender age of 36, he would return to form, and be the same dominant player he was before suffering the second of two major injuries. The Black Mambo, they knew, would return to playing 36 to 40 minutes per game, would return to scoring 25, 26, or 27 points per game, would return to shooting 45%, and would be THE GUY they wanted with the ball in his hand in the final minute of a close game.

Now, 27 games into the 2014-2015 season, reality has set in, and Kobe’s return did not

right the disaster of 2013-2014, but instead his play has been a major element in the team's even worse start to this new season, 8-19, after without Kobe going 13-14 through the first 27 a year ago.

Torn ligaments, sprained elbows and an assortment of bruises failed to keep Kobe from the court over his first 17 NBA season, but then a torn Achilles and a broken leg bone and a lost season later, not to mention another year on the
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calendar, at 36 Kobe and coach Byron Scott are contemplating the unthinkable – rather than entrusting the final minute to him, Kobe may just sit out not the fourth quarter, but the entire game, and not just once or twice.

27 games into the season, Kobe is fatigued. Injuries, lack of activity, and age have obviously taken their toll, and the answer it appears, is rest. How and when that will be accomplished is yet to be known, but it will happen. Of course the problem with that is on this talent-bare Lakers’ team, there is no one to pick up the slack, and the season I said would be far worse than last year will become even more so, as games sans Kobe come and go, with a rag-tag roster of journeymen, has-beens, and never-will-be’s play out their masquerade as NBA players.

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Will Kobe rest time begin tonight when the Lakers meet the high-flying, high-scoring, and super-athletic Golden State Warriors? If so, it won't be pretty, or even watchable, but give him tonight off, let him stay home when the team travels to Chicago and then Dallas for losses Thursday and Friday, and maybe they can get a few quality minutes from him on Sunday when they return home to play Phoenix.

But, a bigger question is why? The Lakers as a
team are horrible, and any though of the playoffs is pure fantasy. Kobe is clearly on the down side of his great career, and given the quality of his play this past month, even if he had any thoughts of returning after his contract expires after next season, he should not. This team is going no where with him, and no where without him, so why not let him play as much as he wants, and play out his contract with this year’s roster, and maybe with a slightly better group next season, and then begin anew post-Kobe, maybe even with a new marque name as the centerpiece of a Lakers’ team built for the next decade, rather than for the last one.

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