The Los Angeles Lakers could have a very different Kobe Bryant on the floor this season.
As the 36-year-old guard approaches the end of his career, he has taken great measures to preserve what he has left in his knees. This month he paid a visit to German doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, who has a rock star status in the sports world for his ability to treat injuries (he has a nickname of Healing Hans, and Olympic champion Usain Bolt once called him “the best doctor in the world”).
But after having three surgeries and two season-ending injuries in the last two years, Kobe’s body — and his game — will never fully return back to the explosiveness it once had, notes Fansided.
“Even if he plays even 80 percent of the season (which is a stretch) Kobe will be a much different player than the hard-cutting, slashing and crashing guard we’ve seen throughout his career. Forget the knee and Achilles injuries, at his age the loss of athleticism is expected.
“A closer look into his play in the last two seasons shows Kobe a step slower.
“Thus Kobe’s at an impasse. He must decide on how to play every night if he’s to propel the Lakers into the playoffs and have the greatest NBA season a 36-year-old player has ever had. His decision on how to mold his body in the interest of fitting his game and being dominant is similar to Michael Jordan.”
The report noted that, in his older age, Jordan changed his game to focus on a “bump and fadeaway,” a move that could be difficult for a trimmer Kobe Bryant.
The Los Angeles Lakers have already committed to limiting Kobe’s minutes in an effort to keep him fresh and healthy down the stretch.
“He understands that he only has a few more miles left on that body, you know, maybe two, maybe three years,” Lakers coach Byron Scott told KPCC. “And I think he’s probably more acceptable to accept the fact that you can’t practice every day. There might be some games where you can’t play this game or that game. But that’s all to be determined.”
But to make anything out of Kobe Bryant in his last season (or two), the Los Angeles Lakers also know the supporting cast around him must grow much stronger. The team has reportedly made some big targets in trade and free agency, including Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.
[Image via Slam Online]