When Kobe Bryant went down last season, with just two games left till the start of the postseason, the entire Los Angeles Lakers nation was devastated. Everybody understood that the chances for a sold run and any little hope for a contention of the Larry O’Brien trophy had vanished. Now, after all the team has gone through during the last year, including the acquisition and departure of monster star Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant is needed like he never was in LA.
The main reason that the Lakers want the Black Mamba to return quickly from his torn Achilles injury is because they need him as a presence, both on and off the court. With Howard gone, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol not providing what they were expected to, the Lakers are in a desperate need for Kobe. No.24 was the most consistent player last season, in a team that features four superstars. He was the one who carried the team on the offensive end and sparked up the team’s spirit when needed. We even saw Bryant changing his game during some stretches of the season; become the distributor instead of the finisher. In fact, he recorded a career-high for assists per game during the 2012-2013 campaign, with 6.0 per contest.
Now, that the team has lost power, Kobe will act like the cornerstone for the Lakers. He will be the one who will have to carry the load offensively. He will be the mental but also the physical leader of the team. Proving that he is a strong fighter and able to surprise us all, he recently stated that he will most probably return to action sooner than expected. That gave hope to the fans of the team but also to everybody around the Los Angeles Lakers organization.
But Kobe’s importance to the team goes well beyond the points he scores and the assists he dishes. The Mamba is a fan-favorite and not just in LA. His name has been linked to the Lakers organizations for years. Through his achievements and his superb performance, Kobe has gained international recognition. At the moment he ranks amongst the best-known athletes in the globe. So it’s obvious that his essence goes well above his numbers, even way further than just the Lakers organization. Kobe is a player the NBA needs to be healthy.
There are still questions if he will be able to return to his pre-injury conditions. As he has proven lots of times, he is such a tough guy that he can overcome almost any difficulty. At the age of 35, he might not be as quick and as energetic as he was 10 years ago. However, he still has unfinished work to be done and several records ready to be broken.
In general, we could say that the sooner Kobe Bryant returns to action, the better for the Lakers and also for the entire NBA world. Kobe is one piece that shouldn’t be missing from the NBA puzzle.