Kobe Bryant: Is His Health a Major Concern to the Los Angeles Lakers Title Chances?

The Los Angeles Lakers are not playing like a two-time defending NBA champion is supposed to play like and Kobe Bryant's health may be a major reason why.

Bryant is a 15-year veteran, but with all the playoff games he played in, he has about 17 years of professional experience.

Injuries have been a major detriment to the Lakers' season and often injured center Andrew Bynum is finally back, but his health will always be a question mark.

Without Bynum healthy, the Lakers cannot beat the Celtics, Magic, or Heat in the NBA Finals. Without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers won't get past the second round of the western conference playoffs.

Kobe is currently battling a bum knee and a finger issue that's plagued him for the last few seasons. Phil Jackson needs to find a way to keep Kobe fresh for the playoffs, but at the same time the Lakers need to have a good record to secure homefield.

So how does "Zen Master" Phil keep Kobe healthy and not fatigued?

The first thing Jackson can do is limit Kobe's practice time. Yes, practice is important, but Kobe knows the offense, he knows his teammates and a lack of practice time wouldn't hurt him.

Another way to keep Kobe fresh is to limit his minutes in the game. Kobe has played so many minutes in his career and at this stage in his career, he should not be playing more than 40 minutes per game.

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has managed the minutes of his veterans masterfully the last few seasons, keeping Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce fresh for the playoffs. The result was a surprise trip to the NBA Finals as the fourth seed in the Eastern conference.

Kobe is so important to the Lakers chances of winning an amazing third straight NBA title, that he cannot be too banged up in the playoffs.

If the Lakers were to play the Thunder, or Spurs in the playoffs, they could easily lose to either in five or six games.


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