Players Critical to Los Angeles Lakers Surviving Kobe Bryant Injury

The Los Angeles Lakers once again find themselves needing to replace All-Star guard Kobe Bryant for a significant amount of time. Bryant will miss around six weeks of action after suffering a fractured lateral tibial plateau Tuesday night during the team's 96-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

With him set to miss over a month of NBA action, the Lakers will need several players to step up their game to help overcome the loss of production from Kobe's absence. 

While he got off to a slow start this season after tearing his Achilles tendon last year, Kobe had scored 20-plus points in three of the past five games before the injury.

Here are two players who must contribute more to make up for the loss of Bryant. 


Wesley Johnson 

Over his past five games, Johnson has averaged eight points, 1.2 steals and one block. Those are decent numbers, but in an average of 30 minutes per game, which is essentially a starter's minutes, they should be significantly better than that.

They'll have to be now that Bryant is out. Johnson has started 16 games this year, so he's used to playing significant minutes. Now he needs to produce in those minutes more than he has been. 

His production is not only critical to the Lakers' success this year, but he's playing for a long-term deal to remain in L.A., according to Lakers Nation. 

Being the athletic wing that he is, along with his 79 percent free-throw shooting, Johnson needs to become more aggressive and look to draw contact to get to the free-throw line.

He's also shooting 40 percent from the three-point line, the second-best percentage on the Lakers. Johnson needs to look to shoot more, and it is up to L.A. head coach Mike D'Antoni to focus on making him more involved in this o...

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