Last night the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers was as follows:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Wayne Ellington
SF: Ryan Kelly
PF: Jordan Hill
C: Robert Sacre
Multiple factors contribute to this atrocity.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the 19-year veteran Kobe Bryant had a torn rotator cuff and would likely miss the rest of the season. This after playing just six games in 2013-14 due to knee and Achilles injuries.
Byron Scott and the Lakers have been careful this year with the all-time great’s minutes, but his body seems to be breaking down at an alarming rate after such high usage in the previous 18 years, not even including all those playoff games including five NBA titles and seven trips to the NBA Finals.
Because he’s Kobe Bryant and you’ll be cast out to dark regions of Hel for having a problem with anything the Black Mamba says or does, he sent out this tweet after his latest fall to Father Time. (Note: Click Article For Tweet)
He said #oneluv though, so how could you possibly be peeved at the 17-time All-Star (yes, he got selected as a starter…again).
The efficiency numbers regarding Kobe Bryant are quite interesting.
The far, far inferior Los Angeles team is actually better without the services of number 24.
Their offensive efficiency is +4.1 PPG and their defensive efficiency is a staggering -9.8 PPG without Kobe.
Is this to suggest the L.A. Lakers are better when they can focus on a game plan on not micromanaging the usage of their crippled star? No, and honestly who cares. The Lakers pick goes to the Phoenix Suns (via the Steve Nash trade in 2012) unless the Lakers finish in the bottom 5.
Simply put, they need to suck to ensure their future.
But this isn’t where Kobe Bryant is holding his lifelong team back the most. It’s just…how do I say this nicely without disrupting the fragile equilibrium of the intrawebs…
Nobody wants to play with Kobe Bryant.
Despite giving Kobe a preposterous and uncalled for two-year $48 million dollar extension in 2013, they’ve had as much cap room as anybody else in the league to be a player in free agency. The protected pick to Phoenix greatly restricts them in the trade front, although they have the less valuable Houston Rockets 2015 first round pick for simply letting Jeremy Lin wear their jersey instead of a red one.
Past teammates will tell you, current teammates will never and future teammates are hard to picture, because like I said, nobody wants to play with Kobe Bryant.
The future Hall of Famer is certainly not aging gracefully physically, but the mental side of Kobe and the smack-tongue-and-lick-every-corner-of-his-mouth-in-between-words-when-he-talks is also preventing the Lakers from piecing together life after Kobe, which, if they’re smart, will be this offseason.
Kobe still believes he can play at a high level with the best of them, and that is a large reason he’ll be sporting a coat and tie for the remainder of the season, just as he did after just six contests the season before.
At the end of the day, despite the current travesty of a roster, the Lakers are still a prized destination.
But it has to begin with, among many things, allowing Kobe Bryant to go if he demands on being a number one, two, three or four option on a team with actual competitive aspirations for the future.
Nobody wants to see a legend go out like this, but alas, it is happening to Kobe Bryant.