How dare I even ask that question, right? Of course the Lakers aren’t better without Kobe Bryant. But they are winning without him. And beating good teams, too. They have won their last four games, three of them against playoff teams.
Since Kobe has been on the bench Andrew Bynum has been a monster on the court. He followed a 30 rebound game against the Spurs with a 30 point game against the Nuggets. Can those numbers hold up once Bryant comes back into the lineup? Some people think they can’t.
This reminds me of when Linsanity hit the New York Knicks. With Carmelo Anthony out, Jeremy Lin energized the team and led them on a great run. The fear in every Knicks fan’s mind was that Melo was going to come back and screw everything up.
That is the fear some Lakers fans have right now.
Can Kobe Bryant come back and be a complementary player to this team? Would anyone even suggest this? I seriously doubt that Mike Brown would approach Kobe with this suggestion.
But if the Lakers are going to contend for a 17th championship that’s exactly what Kobe is going to have to do.
He’s going to have to become a more efficient player. The days of jacking up 30 shots a game are gone. He’s going to have to make due with 18-20 shots per game. He’s needs to pick his spots.
Kobe desperately wants to win that sixth championship ring and the window for him to do that is rapidly closing. His ego is going to have to take a back seat when he comes back. If he truly wants that sixth ring, he’s going to have to let the rest of the team win it for him. He will have to trust them to win it for him.
Right now this Lakers team is giving him every reason to trust them. Let’s just hope he does.