Will Kobe Bryant’s Early Absence Be the Death Blow to Lakers’ Season?

Kobe Bryant can't win games for the Los Angeles Lakers from the bench.

Most NBA teams won't rely on a 35-year-old shooting guard to define their season. Business models of that kind are typically discouraged. Younger is better.

Youth isn't an asset the Lakers are currently wielding, though. Their season arc is tied to the fate of one aging player, and one aging player only—Kobe Bryant. 

Unfortunately for them, Kobe isn't just aging; he's injured. And he's not going to be ready for action when the Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night.

"No," D'Antoni said when asked about the possibility of Kobe playing in the regular-season opener, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin. "My God, I know he's Superman, but my God. He hasn't run yet."

Those questions will follow D'Antoni and the Lakers well beyond their game against the Clippers. Not until there is a definitive timetable for Kobe's return will they stop.

Certainty is something the Lakers don't have or haven't been very forthcoming with. Aside from a few simulated social-media progress reports, information has been scarce. 

"Vino" is shattering the presumed timetable, but what's the new one? How much longer will he be out?

The Lakers need to know, as it's him they need if they still wish to make the playoffs.


Searching for a Star

Before you start to argue that the Lakers can survive without Kobe, bite your tongue. Bite it hard. Then, don't say a word. Because they can't.

General manager Mitch Kupchak made something average out of nothing when he brought in fillers like Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman and, though I can't believe I'm saying this, Xavier Henry. What he didn't do is make Kobe any less important.

Pau Gasol and Steve Nash are two seasoned veterans who have borne heavier albatrosses in...

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