Kobe Bryant took to twitter to use the dire outlook from most pundits as his motivation going into next season. ESPN posted their Western Conference projections that didn’t include The Los Angeles Lakers in the playoff picture. “12th I see,” Bryant tweeted as if he was using it for motivation for one last time to prove the naysayers wrong. This old motivation tactic that was a staple of the ultra-competitive Michael Jordan and Bryant, just prove that he refuses to see take the rescue boat on the Lakers’ Titanic.
Bryant is supposed to feel this way. He is the mere mortal who guided a team that started Smush Parker and Kwame Brown to the playoffs. He is the owner of an 81-point game and a two-time finals MVP. His sheer inspiration at this point seems to be catching Jordan’s six championships. We will remember all those great things when we immortalize him in the Hall of Fame. As for now, he is the owner of a recovering ruptured Achilles tendon on a team that was decimated by the sequel to the ‘Dwightmare’.
The Lakers don’t have the pieces to make a sustainable run even to get to an eighth seed. They have the carcass of what used to be known as Steve Nash running point, alongside recently signed relic of yesteryear, Lamar Odom. They still have Pau Gasol, who is also aging but would still be effective if he were coached by anyone besides Mike D’Antoni. This lineup with Kobe’s timetable for return remaining unknown, could garner a top-10 draft pick but expecting them to compete in a loaded Western Conference is far-reaching.
So Kobe can huff and puff his chest with his usual flare. He can use the prognostications as bulletin-board material all he wants. Michael Jordan also thought that his Washington Wizards teams would be better than they were, only to fall flat on his face. Like Bryant, he relied on his own nostalgia of his greatness to shield him from the reality. The truth is he, like us all, are waiting for next year when the Lakers can actually press the reset button on this team.