They play by different rules in L.A. The Lakers are the only NBA team still winless in the preseason. They’re getting outscored by nearly 16 points a game, BY FAR the worst mark in the league (next worst is New Orleans at minus-6.58). They’ve had exactly one game with their full starting lineup intact, and they ended up losing that one to the lottery-bound Kings. And now, they’ll play the remainder of the preseason without Kobe Bryant, who may also miss the start of the real season with a foot strain.
Anywhere else, and all of this might add up to a bit of concern. Laker Nation, however, has the benefit of an insane amount of talent, as well as the excuse that it’s “only the preseason.” But apparently, this injury is very real and isn’t just a way for Kobe to get out of the last few meaningless preseason games.
Mike Brown told ESPN.com that the future Hall of Famer could miss the start of the season, and that his availability is up in the air at this point, adding, “I don’t know if he’ll be ready. So yeah, I guess there is question. I’m just going to wait for [Lakers trainer] Gary Vitti to tell me he can play because there’s nothing I can do about it until they release him anyway.”
While none of this may matter next spring, Bryant is missing valuable time to get acquainted with his new teammates. During their tilt with Sacramento, the lone time this preseason that Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have all played together, the results were mixed. Howard looked good. But Nash was still unsure of how to play, and committed a couple of surprising turnovers (actually, that’s been somewhat of a problem for him all preseason). And then there was Bryant, who overpassed on a number of occasions, particularly in the paint when he was trying to force-feed Howard.
Individually, Kobe looks fine and I don’t suspect his sore foot will hinder him at all once he gets going. So far in five preseason games, he’s shooting 50 percent and scoring over 20 a night in less than 27 minutes of playing time. But everything else within the new offense – timing, spacing, sharing the ball – will take some time, more time now that Kobe has an injury that could linger into the regular season.
Will injuries play a major role in the Lakers’ season?
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