Barring a major shock, the Los Angeles Lakers won’t be a playoff team in a loaded Western Conference this season. But the presence of Kobe Bryant complicates matters; he’s made a career of basketball miracles. So though the deck seems stacked against the 36 year-old legend coming off major surgeries in 2014-2015, it would certainly be unwise to count Kobe and his team out entirely. But the Lakers can only surprise if Bryant does, too, a likelihood that seems more realistic given today’s news that he thrived in five-on-five play at a team workout.
That’s all of the information there is at the moment, but it bears reporting nonetheless. Few teams in the league are more directly tied to a single player’s performance than Los Angeles is Bryant’s.
If Kobe defies the odds of aging and injury to perform at his exalted level of 2012-2013, the Lakers will challenge for a lower-rung playoff birth this season. But if 18 seasons of wear-and-tear accelerated by two serious lower-leg injuries rears its head, it will be a long, long year at Staples Center.
We wouldn’t have heard if Bryant performed poorly. That he played well, though, will not only ease concerns of his legions of followers, but likely put a scare into LA’s Western Conference competitors, too.
Is Kobe still elite?
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