L.A. Lakers: Fans May Need a Reality Check Concerning Kobe Bryant and the Team

It's very easy to run off all of the reasons the Los Angeles Lakers have a decent chance at winning their third consecutive NBA championship, but there is danger in failing to acknowledge the Lakers issues.

Lakers' fans are fiercely loyal and protective of their team, and they manage to remain optimistic even when there are legitimate reasons for concern.

Readers have accused me of approaching Lakers' stories with a negative attitude, and for those who agree with that assessment, this article may seem like a confirmation of your beliefs.

I believe that the Lakers have just as good a shot as any other contender in the NBA to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy in June, but several issues have surfaced that can't just be swept under the rug.

The first is Kobe Bryant's knee and whether or not fans should place to much stock in the fact that he pronounced himself 60 percent healed, less than three weeks from the season opener.

Most fans think that Bryant is playing a pyschological game or that it is simply a ploy to keep people's interests peaked, but what if Bryant's words are true?

If so, is it reasonable to expect Bryant to be 100 percent in the space of three weeks?

That's highly doubtful, and even if Bryant is close to 90 percent when the Lakers open against Houston, his injury opens the door to a darker path that few Lakers' fans are willing to travel.

Knee troubles have already robbed Bryant of some of his previous explosiveness and lift, and this most recent issue has the appearance of something that could be a chronic problem.

I understand Bryant's passion for the game, belief in hard work, and his insane conditioning, but none of those things matter when a player is caught in the grip of a knee injury.

All the killer instinct and dedication in the world can't return an injured knee to its former state, and Bryant also h...

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