Can Kobe Bryant Lead the Los Angeles Lakers Back to The Playoffs?

By Kareem Gantt
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Getty Images

There were a lot of things wrong with theLos Angeles Lakers last season. But one of the biggest problems for the Hollywood’s glamour team last season was not having a healthy Kobe Bryant on the floor.

Kobe is the oil in the Lakers machine, and without it, the machine sputters into utter disaster. Kobe is slated to be back in action when the 2014-15 season start, but the biggest question looming over the Lakers aging superstar is if he can return to the “Black Mamba” we all either loved or hated.

If he can’t regain his game, then the Lakers could be staring at a lengthy rebuilding phase. But let’s say that Kobe returned to being “Kobe,” the man who can basically carry the franchise all by his lonesome. With his inside buddy Pau Gasol now with the Chicago Bulls, will Kobe be enough to carry the Lakers back to the playoffs?

The answer? No.

The Lakers that Kobe is returning to is far less talented than the teams he has carried before injuries threw a wrench into his career. To add insult to injury, the Western Conference has long since passed the Lakers by. The San Antonio Spurs are now the kings of the West, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Clippers–of all teams–are not too far behind. The Lakers of 2014-15 will be lucky just to avoid being in the conference basement.

Kobe should concentrate less on getting the Lakers back to playoffs, and focus more on getting himself back into a basketball groove. That way, by the time 2015 rolls around, Kobe will be back in game shape, and the Lakers could be ready to make a run back to the playoffs. That is the end game here.

The Black Mamba can’t carry this 2014-15 Lakers on his shoulders.

Kareem Gantt covers the NBA for Rant Sports. For more from this author, ‘follow’ him on Twitter, ‘like’ him on Facebook, and ‘add’ him to your network on Google

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