Is the end is near for the Black Mamba?
At 37 years old and coming off two devastating injuries, Kobe Bryant is back on the hardwood for his 20th NBA season. Bryant has been the basketball king of Los Angeles for years, but he is no longer capable of carrying a team to success by himself. The Lakers are in full on rebuild mode, and paying top dollar for a player on the wrong side of 35 does not make sense for them moving forward. It is finally time for the Lakers to move on from the Kobe Bryant era.
The 2015-2016 Lakers have started the season 1-7. They have lost three games in a row and have yet to defeat a team within their conference. In these first eight games, Bryant is the team’s leading scorer, but he has been horribly inefficient. He has the second worst field goal percentage on the team, is only shooting 21 percent from beyond the arc, and has the lowest player efficiency rating in the starting lineup.
Bryant’s ball dominant style is not healthy for a team trying to develop its young talent. The Lakers used the second overall pick in last season’s draft to select D’Angelo Russell, a point guard from The Ohio State University. Russell is the team’s official floor general, but he has been hesitant to take the reins of the offense away from Bryant. Continuing to let the offense run through Bryant will inhibit Russell’s growth as a player. Bryant also takes a lot of touches away from promising second year players Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 10, 2015
Bryant is the highest paid player in the NBA and will earn $25 million this season. It is the last year of his contract and although there has been a lot of speculation that the Black Mamba will call it quits at the end of the year, Bryant has given no indication as to his future plans. He is a notoriously intense competitor and if Bryant feels he can still play, he will most likely come back.
At this point in his career, Bryant is hurting the future of Los Angeles basketball. It will be difficult to trade him during the season because his contract is so large, but the Lakers should not bring Bryant back for a 21st season in purple and gold.
Will Bryant retire at the end of the year? Will he be remembered as a champion or a fierce competitor who isolated teammates? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4