Lakers Fear Kobe Bryant’s Season is Over
News broke on Thursday that Los Angeles Lakers star shooting guard Kobe Bryant suffered a tear in his right rotator cuff. While obviously bad news for the 36-year old superstar, it wasn’t initially known how much time Bryant could miss. Now the Lakers are fearing the worst.
Per reports, despite not suffering a complete tear, Bryant could be forced to go under the knife, which could very well put an end to his 2014-15 NBA season.
Bryant had been dealing with a sore right shoulder (as well as other various ailments) for much of the year, and is said to have simply made it worse in his last game.
The Lakers are already near the bottom of the Western Conference and have almost no hope of making a serious playoff run, so there is little reason to keep The Black Mamba out on the court over the second half of the year.
Instead, L.A. could shut Bryant down now and rest him up for what figures to be his final NBA season next year.
With Bryant likely done for the season, the Lakers would turn to Nick Young, Wayne Ellington, Jordan Clarkson and Wesley Johnson to soak up most of the minutes on the wing. Young had previously been filling a bench scoring role, so he would likely stick as the first man off the bench, while Ellington would likely slide into the starting shooting guard role.
L.A. has been wanting to get a better look at Clarkson, as well, so they could also think about using the versatile rookie at the two guard spot, or even switch things up and use him at the one spot. With the season mostly in the bag, the Lakers should use Bryant’s injury as a reason to evaluate talent by getting more playing time for their younger players.
Playing younger players has it’s benefits, as the Lakers could start losing at a rapid rate (they’ve already lost each of their last six games) and could try to improve their chances of sticking in the top-five for the 2015 NBA Draft. If they don’t, they would lose a valuable first round draft pick that was involved in a trade for Steve Nash three years ago. Needless to say, Bryant going down could be a short-term positive to assist the Lakers in getting better for the long-term.
Bryant has been severely injury-prone for the past three seasons, as he’s missed time with a torn Achilles, as well as knee and shoulder issues. He should be able to return to full strength next year, however, provided he doesn’t shock the league with an early retirement. Knowing Bryant, though, the odds are he’d rather go out on his own terms, and also as a member of a team that finishes the year in the playoffs, instead of near the bottom of the league.
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