Kobe Bryant’s Patience Will Be Tested with Inexperienced Los Angeles Lakers

The 2014-15 season could be an exhaustive exercise for Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, a test of both his physical health and mental fortitude.

Scarier still is the fact that might qualify as a best-case scenario for the 36-year-old. If he isn't engaged in a lengthy battle with his body and Father Time, he might have succumbed to one—or both—as he did while missing all but six games of the Lakers' brutal 2013-14 campaign.

Either way this season, his 19th in the NBA, promises to be an 82-game test of his endurance. And his supporting cast, littered with injury risks, unproven commodities and past-their-prime veterans, won't likely make his challenge any easier.

Not without the right Mamba mindset, at least.

His leadership position within the franchise hasn't changed, but the responsibilities attached to it are dramatically different. As he told reporters after the team's first practice Tuesday, this group is nothing like the ones he has guided before:

"In the past I knew all the guys," Bryant said, per ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi. "Most of the guys were veterans and had been in the league for a while and was familiar with them a little bit more. These guys, not so much."

The vets Bryant will have at his side come surrounded by question marks.

Steve Nash, who is also entering his 19th season, made just 15 appearances for the Lakers last year. The 40-year-old admitted his basketball career has now become a race with time.

"If I can manage the amount of minutes I'm on the court and keep myself going and don't overdo it to where I can't recover, maybe I got a chance to play a lot more," he told reporters.

Carlos Boozer, the 32-year-old who landed with the Lakers after being amnestied by the Chicago Bulls, is looking to recover from his worst statistical season since his rookie year. The big man tallied only 13.7 points and 8.3...

About the Author