Kobe Bryant Needs To Accept A Lost Season And Focus On Future

Kobe Bryant Needs To Accept A Lost Season And Focus On Future


Kobe Bryant injury knee 2013 2014

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a six-game losing streak and recently learned that Kobe Bryant likely won’t return until March, at the earliest.

However, a return to the basketball court should be the furthest thing from Bryant’s mind. Given that the Lakers have descended to the bottom of the Western Conference, Bryant’s best course of action is to shut it down for the remainder of the season and use the summer to regain form.

As the leader of the team, the notion that Bryant would make the decision to standby and let his teammates go to battle without him goes against what he’s built his career on – competing at all costs.

What Bryant must realize is he has nothing to gain and everything to lose if he were to return. This isn’t the dysfunctional but talented team from last season that could perhaps be salvaged with one heroic performance after another from Bryant.

Throughout his career, Bryant often recovered from several injuries faster than any timetable could predict. With more miles now on his body, Bryant simply isn’t recovering at the rate he used to – which isn’t a knock on him. Father Time is undefeated for a reason.

With the Lakers’ constant struggles, the idea that Bryant should seriously consider sitting out what’s left of the season has gained traction.

However, prior to the Lakers’ game against the Boston Celtics on Jan. 17, Bryant stated he planned to make every effort to return this season. “The only thing I can afford to consider is getting better, getting stronger,” he said.

With the latest injury update, the best-case scenario appears to have Bryant cleared for practice around Feb. 18. He would then presumably need a minimum of two to three weeks before he’s ready for game action.

On the off chance Bryant won’t need much practice time before he can return from this latest injury, he could conceivably be back on the court by the first week of March.  However, for that to be the case, Bryant would need a stroke luck that has neither been bestowed on him nor his teammates for much of the season.

That best case scenario would result in Bryant missing anywhere from 12 to 20 games for a team that has gone 3-17 in its last 20 games.

Yes, during that stretch the Lakers have not only been without Bryant but also Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry and Steve Nash. The status of the group of injured players varies, but even with their return, the Lakers will likely continue to struggle.

Potentially offsetting the return of any of the players mentioned above is Pau Gasol, who will miss at least the next week with a groin injury.  If Gasol misses an extended period of time, the Lakers will likely fall into a much deeper hole — one that Bryant wouldn’t be able to pull them out of despite his history of defying logic.

Missing the rest of the season may make Bryant’s eventual return to the basketball court more difficult than desired, but facing a tougher challenge closer to 100% is preferred than the possibility of Bryant prematurely fighting his way back to a lost cause.

Barring another midseason heist a la the Gasol acquisition in 2008, the Lakers are not winning a championship this season with or without Bryant.

Though it may be difficult to watch, the Lakers’ best option at this point in the season is to continue piling up the losses.  The team shouldn’t stop competing, but even on their best of days, they are overmatched more times than not.

The 2014 NBA Draft is expected to be littered with plenty of talent. Whether the Lakers opt to keep the player they draft or trade him, the future could be bright as the team capitalizes on the constant losing from this season.

With a recovered Bryant, perhaps a marquee free agent and a high draft pick, the 2014-2015 Lakers may resemble the competitive teams that the fans and franchise are accustomed to seeing.
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  • Christopher Smith

    Kobe does need to come back for one reason only. The team needs to know what type of chemistry they will have with this group of players in order to decide who stays and goes. This season has been plagued by injuries, but that does not have any bearing on the team’s poor defense execution, or horrible play by the big men. (Not sure if it’s the lack of size, schemes, talent, or lack of drive to not let a team score)

    Either way, Kobe needs to be on the floor with the talent we have if there is any hope in recruiting others to this team by looking at the compliment of players on the floor within the offense that is being ran. The Lakers do not need superstars, we need men that have pried in their game and a strong defensive mind to stop the opponent.

    • Matthew Moreno

      I don’t necessarily believe Kobe needs to return to figure out who the Lakers should re-sign.

      At the right cost, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill, Wesley Johnson, and maybe Nick Young should be brought back.

      Kendall Marshall may also be back on a qualifying offer.

      • Christopher Smith

        Yor have to have chemistry, and the only way to develop that is to do so on the court. Who is going to play well with Kobe has yet to be determined hence the reason he should be back in the lineup, but only if he is healthy. Before all the injuries, the team was starting to look like they were a TRUE big man away from contending, now….

        • Matthew Moreno

          The last statement in your comment implies that everyone should be brought back.

          If they were “a true big man away from contending” then that suggests there was chemistry among the players.

          Considering that the majority of the guys who are hanging in the balance are role players, it’s easier to plug them in with stars and build that chemistry through practice and playing time- or so I believe.

        • Daryl Peek

          I agree with some of your premise but team chemistry is built in training camp. We saw this in the way the team played early on when healthy, especially in the first Clippers game. We saw the character of the team tested in the first GS game. Character building continued in the Spurs game as good chemistry allowed them to challenge the Spurs. By the time we got to the second Warriors game good team chemistry had begun to manifest into great team character via the battles. We beat GS in that second game while in the midst of a 6 game stretch where we won 5 out of 6 games. Blake suffered his elbow injury in the next game against the Wizards. He pressed through it best he could but team chemistry was starting to crack as he was not as efficient in both shooting and turnovers. By the time Kobe returned the loss of Farmar coupled with Blake’s issue showed in how the team chemistry was completely disrupted when Kobe finally suited up. That was also in part because of Kobe not being able to practice 5-5 with the fellas during the off-season.

          Team character is what’s built over the course of in game experience. This is what Phil Jackson often pointed out in his The Journey talk. This is also why Phil hates not having a full training camp to prep his team. The preparation sets the chemistry. Battling together in war builds character.

  • Daryl Peek

    “However, a return to the basketball court should be the furthest thing from Bryant’s mind. Given that the Lakers have descended to the bottom of the Western Conference, Bryant’s best course of action is to shut it down for the remainder of the season and use the summer to regain form.”

    Couldn’t be more wrong about this. Kobe needs to come back soon as he’s 100% healthy to prove to himself he can get back to form. There’s nothing a player can do in an off-season to get his NBA legs back. We saw first hand evidence of this in Derek Rose this year after playing it over cautiously on his return, and Rose is much younger than Kobe. Rose looked like a shell of himself on the court up til re-injury just as Kobe did in his 6 games back.

    Kobe would be doing himself and the Lakers a huge disservice by shutting it down when he’s healthy. This is the tankers mentality I’m trying to thwart. It is that mentality that could be the end of Kobe’s career more so than Kobe pushing to re-establish his form sooner rather than later.

    It is the instances of the human spirit willing & pushing their limits in sports that inspires us when watching greatness overcome the odds. Make no mistake about it, Kobe is battling the odds in just trying to prove to himself and all the doubters he can come back strong!

    I don’t know where we went wrong in trying to usurp the spirit of true competition but I know one thing, great players like Kobe will not fall for the banana in the tailpipe!

    • Matthew Moreno

      I think the Rose situation is a bit different. I don’t believe his mental toughness is anywhere near Kobe’s.

      As I stated above, my biggest issue is with the way the season has gone, the chances of Kobe getting hurt again are likely. I would hate to see that.

      While you can’t play scared, I personally believe that at this point in the season, it’s best for Kobe to get healthy, complete his training regime that he wasn’t able to last summer, and come back stronger to a (hopefully) better team.

      • Daryl Peek

        Can’t coddle a great player like Kobe because the team stinks, coupled with hopes of a high draft pick. Kobe will not go for that and it is that competitive spirit that has made him who he is and will ultimately get him back to where he wants to be. Risk is part of the game. If your not all in you’re not trying to win at whatever you goals are.

        • Matthew Moreno

          I understand that and I understand that Kobe likely will play again this season.

          I am all for competing and playing to win, but I do believe questioning whether or not his return this season is truly worth it, is valid.

          • Daryl Peek

            It’s only valid from a tankers big picture perspective. In almost every instance of great players overcoming injury pushing the limits is the story we always see through their journey. This makes the question at hand (risk) invalid simply because of the other motives at hand… “why come back when the team is going no where”

          • Matthew Moreno

            I don’t think looking at the big picture equates to being pro-tanking.

          • Daryl Peek

            Then what’s the reason for him to shut it down? Why would you preface the article as such pushing to return this season should not be a goal of Kobe due to the lost season?

            The sooner he starts to prepare (real game experience) the faster he’ll regain optimal form.

      • Michael Bromley

        You guys do realise that Kobe will only return once the team Drs clear him, right? Of he is medically cleared, him (and all professional athletes) have an obligation to go out and DO THIER JOB!!! Kobe knows this…

  • 3339

    Kobe should focus on his health and return whenever he feels 100%.
    Next game, next month, doesn’t matter, just whenever he feels ready.

  • ra

    I wouldn’t call it a lost season for Kobe. I consider it a perfect time for a long break (kind of like what MJ did) for working hard for 17 years. The body may need a ‘total’ rest before retooling and starting up again.

    Also, if he played through this season, he might have ‘overextended’ to get this team to some type of level – but, since the Lakers are also ‘retooling’, Kobe’s talents will best be optimized when the Lakers ‘settle’ more on what the team will be in the next year(s).

    If Kobe comes back for some part of this season, it’s ok. It actually takes a while to get up to full speed, and even if he did come back in a month, it’s too little time to do something that could risk a complete breakdown. Any playing time is conditioning, so it wouldn’t hurt for Kobe to get some practice time in.

    It’s not a lost season for Kobe, but it’s an ‘interim season’ for the Lakers. It could also be ‘lost’, but again, the Lakers are starting from ‘zero’, so the only way to go is up. Kobe should see the Lakers as a good team to practice with, to get back his chops.

    • Matthew Moreno

      It’s not so much that I believe it’s solely a lost season for Kobe- it applies to the entire team.

      My biggest concern would be Kobe comes back where there really isn’t much to play for, and injures himself again. Then what?

      In my opinion, the risk doesn’t outweigh the benefit(s).

  • Dragon7s

    Kobe needs to get back on the floor when he’s healthy enough to do so if for no other reason than the team needs to learn what it means to fight for wins. Doing whatever it takes, whether you actually win or not.

    One thing we’re starting to see with this losing streak is the players’ demeanor changing from one that was ‘full speed ahead, we can win this’ to one of ‘we’re here, let’s get this over with’.

    Maybe I’m being overly harsh but while these players have heard Kobe preach from the bench (and probably during practices), it’s another thing entirely to witness his drive and desire in game situations.
    That’s what they need to learn and why Kobe needs to be back on the court this season.

  • Jim213

    The man said he’ll comeback. Returning in March gives him 6 to 4 weeks depending on return date to play some good ball to help him prepare and carry his off season conditioning. Don’t matter if he comes back b/c we shouldn’t expect the old Kobe to return given he’s not up to par (playing at his level).

  • hookedonnews

    This is the umpteenth article about Kobe not returning. Everyone knows he’s going to be back on the floor when he’s healthy. Why is this even a topic for discussion? He’s not Derrick Rose, and he’ll play. He’s said so plenty of times, and anyone who knows him knows what he’s going to do.

  • Justin Santos

    Bottomline: Fire Mr. Pringles Mike Antoni

    I don’t give him a D because he has no D!

  • Michael Bromley

    This whole notion of professional athletes “sitting out” really pisses me off. He is paid to play basketball. That is his job. Kobe, along with every other player in the league, has a responsibility to his team, the fans and the league, to suit up and go to work, as soon as he is medically cleared to do so. Could you take more time off after a work related injury because “it didn’t feel right”? No. Kobe, to his credit, knows this, accepts this, and embraces this. I lost all respect for D Rose when he chose to sit out so much longer than he should have. Can’t wait to see you back outcthere kobe, you are a beast!

  • Jay Brodes

    i hope he takes coach k up on his offer. sit out the season and play for team usa. lakers are not going anywhere this year. fire dantoni since he got mamba hurt in the first place. figure out a coach and lets get the ship right! just a thought. wish we could have shaw..damn!


    Dude dont skip the season. Come back and get the rust out of ur system, then use the offseason to regain form. Let’s face it, Kobe was pretty rusty when he finally came back. Im not trying to have that happen next yr when we potentially have a much, much better roster. get the bad games out of the way now. dont rush back, but if ur healthy before the season ends, why waste the time? get the rust out.

    • http://rantsofascorpio.wordpress.com/ Evan

      The “rust” can be shaken in the off season, training camp, preseason, etc. If he comes back this season, he needs to make 100% sure that there are no injuries, no imbalances, no strains, NOTHING that could flare up and cause issues.

      If he’s 100% healthy, I see no problem in him coming back and competing, as long as he doesn’t start winning games lol

  • Blair

    Some1 getting paid 30 mil for this season has an obligation to play regardless of standings