Steve Nash, Not Kobe Bryant, Is LA Lakers’ Biggest X-Factor in 2013-14

We know what Kobe Bryant's role will be when he returns for the Los Angeles Lakers. But the same can't be said of Steve Nash, whose uncertain health and indefinite role make his impact much harder to predict.

That's why the 39-year-old point guard could wind up being the player with the biggest influence on Los Angeles' fate in the 2013-14 season—for better or worse.


Known Commodity

Not convinced?

Think about it like this: Bryant has essentially played with one mindset his entire career, despite shifting coaching philosophies and a rotating cast of teammates.

He knows he's out there to be the team's alpha dog, primary scoring option and late-game gunner. Yes, he's dabbled briefly with the notion of being a facilitator, but those dalliances have never lasted for more than a few games at a time.

Generally speaking, Bryant looks to score in isolation, takes plenty of shots and tends to control possessions during crunch time. It's just who he is.

So whenever he manages to get his body ready to play this season, that's the guy we'll see.

Undoubtedly, he'll have to find a way to cope with the reduced athleticism that should result from his torn Achilles. But his experience, competitiveness and finely tuned post game are going to allow him to play in a way that won't be markedly different from the style we've seen over the past 17 years.


The Big Question Mark

Nash is a different case.

His injury last year wasn't of the same abrupt, career-altering quality as Bryant's. In a way, that makes it even harder to project what we'll see from Nash this year.

See, Nash suffered a near-total physical breakdown last season. He fractured his leg early in the year and then suffered a related string of strains, tweaks and sprains that resulted from his initial injury.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers