By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
21012-13 Record: 45-37
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 3rd in the Pacific Division
Projected Starting Lineup
Kobe Bryant’s time in the NBA is running out. He is coming back from a torn achilles tendon in near record time, and he wants one more championship run. I don’t doubt Kobe’s ability to have one more championship run, I doubt the rest of the Lakers to make a championship run. Steve Nash can’t stay healthy, and Pau Gasol doesn’t fit well into Mike D’Antoni’s offense. If that’s not enough the Lakers have an awful bench that is among one of the worst scoring benches in the league. At this point I feel bad for Kobe Bryant because he clearly deserves a better shot to go out on top than he does at the moment. Pau Gasol has already said he won’t take a pay-cut next year, so it might be time to unload Gasol for a serviceable replacement and some added depth. Kobe’s contract is also up after this season, and he might be secretly hoping for LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony to come join him in LA for his final years. The Lakers need to go ahead and get ready for next season because they won’t be a serious threat in the west this season. At best the Lakers are an eight seed, and that will result in a first round exit for the second straight year.
Even though the Lakers look bad on paper, they do still have Kobe. The pure determination Kobe has shown to come back from such a serious injury is profound. I have never seen a professional in any sport play through the injuries Kobe Bryant has played through. Kobe’s determination won’t be enough to get him his sixth NBA Championship, but it will define his legacy. Kobe has always been the most determined player in the NBA, and I hope that he gets his chance to go out on top – because he has earned that much.