The Lakers can hire whoever they want as head coach and bring in all the right players in free agency, but their success will ultimately depend on the health of Kobe Bryant.
After battling to return from a torn achilles, Bryant lasted only six games before suffering a fractured knee. Thankfully for the Lakers, Bryant is already 100 percent, as he told Jimmy Kimmel last night according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe on @jimmykimmel says "From a health standpoint [he's] 100%" but from a basketball standpoint, he's "not there yet."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) May 9, 2014
It is good news to hear that Bryant’s knee is completely healed, but like he said, there is a difference in an injury being healed, and being ready to play basketball.
Bryant will need to get himself in basketball shape, and more importantly, regain confidence in his knee. Players put so much pressure on the knee when cutting and jumping, it takes time to feel comfortable doing these basketball actions.
Heading into his 18th season, there will be a lot of pressure on Bryant. He wants the Lakers to turn things around immediately, and he will not accept another season like the one the Lakers just went through.
Bryant can be one of the more difficult players to deal with because he has high expectations of everyone in the organization. He wants to at least be heard on who will be the next coach, and it isn’t unreasonable to think he would want the same in regards to the draft and free agency.
But everything for the Lakers will come down the Bryant putting this team on his back, and the first step to that is Kobe Bryant being healthy.
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant On Jimmy Kimmel Live!