Kobe Bryant is scheduled to miss at least six weeks with another knee injury, and now the Los Angeles Lakers are at a crossroads. Does the storied basketball franchise start to tank to get one of the young college phenoms that will be in the draft next year? The Lakers are not a team accustomed to losing, but throwing this season away may prove beneficial in the long run for the team.
The upcoming NBA Draft has the potential of producing one of the best draft classes of all time with players like Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins. Will the Lakers tank for one of the college stars, or will pride get in the way of this enormous opportunity?
The Lakers won the first game with Bryant back, but the second game did not go as well. The Lakers fell to the Golden State Warriors 102-83 in a game that was not all that close. Pau Gasol sat out this game with an upper respiratory infection, and the Lakers’ role players were not able to spring the upset. Nick Young led the team with 20 points off the bench, but none of the starters broke 15 points. This game could be a foreshadowing of things to come for the rest of the season.
The Lakers may not want to tank the rest of the season, but the franchise needs to swallow their pride and hope for a high draft pick. The Lakers are in unfamiliar territory near the bottom of the conference with a depleted roster, and the team is not going anywhere this year without Kobe. The last time the Lakers had a pick higher than 10th in the draft was 1982, but the franchise should hope for a better position this season.
The Lakers should shut down Kobe for the rest of the season and limit Gasol’s minutes the rest of the way to insure a good position in the draft. Pride and egos in the front office may get in the way of tanking, but the Lakers need to trade the bleak present for a bright future. The team is not going anywhere this season, so why shouldn’t the Lakers tank the season and pine for Parker?
Greg Douglas is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google network.