Can Kobe Bryant Save the Los Angeles Lakers’ Season?

Kobe Bryant has always been polarizing, but this year might be the most polarizing he's been yet. Before, no matter what happened, while everywhere else he could have been vilified, in Los Angeles he was always supported. This year it seems he's even getting hit there. 

The Lakers have been having an up-and-down season. Some of that has to do with Kobe's shooting, which has been up and down. On one night he was 6-of-28, scoring just 16 points. Last night he shot 13-of-24, scoring 30 points. 

Some of that disparity is due to his wrist injury, which he's been receiving injections for before every game. The truth is that only Kobe is going to be able to know when Kobe is feeling well. Only Kobe is going to know when he's not feeling well.

Bryant's got a competitive engine that goes deeper than most. The problem is when you are that competitive, it's hard to know when you're not at your best. I recall one year when Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills was injured in a playoff game. He insisted on playing hurt, and he was consistently run all over during the game. 

It cost the Bills the game. 

Bryant needs to be able to know when to say when. He needs to understand his limitations as a mere mortal. Right now when his shot isn't falling he needs to not spite reality and keep shooting, daring gravity to defy him. 

That doesn't mean he needs to sit or go the whole game without shooting, but he needs to figure out how to use his tremendous acumen to help the Lakers win games when he can't find his stroke. Whether it's feeding the ball into Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post or trying to set up someone from the perimeter, he needs to be able to dominate without shooting. 

The Lakers are only going to be as consistent as Bryant. That's not a shot at Bryant, it's a reality. They go as he goes.

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