April 19, 2012

Time to Shelve Kobe?

As of this writing, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has missed the team's last six games to rest his injured shin. During that stretch, the Lakers have won four, with those games coming from a winning streak.

Now the big question: Should the Lakers shelve Kobe for the rest of the season? I say "YES," with a blaring megaphone.

Apart from the obvious rest Kobe gets with this move (Kobe is averaging 38.4 minutes per game), it gives the rest of the Lakers to step up and gather confidence going into the playoffs. Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, and Pau Gasol have notably stepped up their games in Kobe's absence and it even gave long-time bench regular Devin Ebanks some burn.

However, coach Mike Brown must keep in mind the risk of resting Kobe for too long-- it may create an imbalance where the team members need to figure out their roles again once Kobe takes 30% of the team's shots and 38 minutes of PT.

Another factor is playoff positioning. The Lakers are just a half-game ahead of their Staples Center co-tenants and getting third seed in the NBA's Western Conference would be major, since it avoids the dangerous Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.

That said, I still think Kobe should hang up till the last day of the regular season. His fresh legs would be more important in propelling the Lakers in the playoffs.

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