Kobe Bryant’s Absence Is a Blessing in Disguise for LA Lakers’ Chemistry

The Los Angeles Lakers are not better without Kobe Bryant, but they are better off for having played without him.

Sans Bryant, the Lakers were initially liable to crumble. His 27.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game had carried them this far, and Los Angeles remains unsure if that is even enough.

Locked in a battle for one of the final three Western Conference playoff spots, the last thing the Lakers seemingly needed was less Kobe. Or worse, no Kobe at all.

Tinseltown's finest were and are barely holding on to the eighth seed as it is. No Black Mamba—even if for a few games—is then synonymous with no postseason berth.

Unless, of course, Bryant's absence was one they needed.

Implausible as the notion sounds when read aloud, it rings truer than any other lesson these Lakers have learned this season.

Kobe, in so many ways, is a crutch, a fixture that the Lakers can lean upon in any attempt to regain their composure. But his was a service that was being abused; he was a brace that couldn't support the ambitious aspirations of a superteam. He was the end-all on a faction that should have none.

He couldn't, and still can't, do it alone.

Los Angeles isn't your average, run-of-the-mill convocation. The Lakers are a $100 million product assembled around a quartet of superstars. 

Operating without one of those superstars is far from ideal, but remove any one (or even two) of the four from the equation, and you should still be able to identify Los Angeles' formula for success.

Prior to Bryant's absence, the Lakers' rubric wasn't discernible without him. He had played in each of Los Angeles' first 66 games, lasted through the bedlam and snarls that came with losing, and led the Lakers back into the playoff picture.

Hollywood had been without Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, but not Kobe. He was (and in many...

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