Dec 20, 2013, 10:45 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant didn’t mince words, and neither did Charles Barkley.
“Only an idiot would” doubt his resolve to return, Kobe said.
“Kobe Bryant shouldn’t play anymore this year,” Barkley said.
Kobe is definitely right, and Barkley might be right.
Nobody should even consider that Kobe won’t work as hard as he can to get back on the court as soon as possible, but that’s precisely why Barkley is also on the right track.
It’s possible Kobe is fully healthy and rehabilitated within six weeks, as originally projected. I’m not convinced of that, given Kobe’s age, but it’s possible. If that happens, Kobe should return. There’s no sense of him sitting when he’s capable of playing.
However – and this is a point raised by Barkley – Adrian Peterson has set unrealistic expectations for returning from injury. This shouldn’t be a competition, though it will be to someone as competitive as Kobe. If he rushes back (again?), he’s exposing himself to further injury.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $50,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,500. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.The Lakers weren’t bad without Kobe, though probably not good enough to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. They were still finding there way with Kobe when he went down, and if he returns this year, they’ll just have to re-start that process.
I wouldn’t go as far as Barkley – “With or without him, the Lakers suck either way” – but this Lakers season hinges less on Kobe than perhaps any other.
If Kobe can get fully healthy for next season, even if that means sitting out the rest of this year, the Lakers will be better off. And if Kobe misses the rest of this season, he might even have a shiny new lottery pick to help him next year.
- PBT Extra with NBASavant.com: Cleveland may want to cover Curry in the left corner 1
- It’s official: Scott Skiles hired as head coach of Orlando Magic 15
- PBT Podcast: Talking Thibodeau/Bulls divorce; future for Rockets, Hawks 0
- Warriors’ Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion 16
- Klay Thompson should not have been cleared to return to Game 5 after concussion evaluation 15
- Dwight Howard suspended one game after foul switcheroo 18
- Three coaches who may replace Tom Thibodeau in Chicago 12
- Report: Kevin Love going to “look around” this summer as free agent; Celtics, Lakers, Rockets possible 46