Los Angeles Lakers: Why Kobe Bryant Makes Them the Real Deal

Gideon ResnickContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2012

Kobe Bryant is the fiercest competitor in the league, making a statement for an MVP-caliber season
Kobe Bryant is the fiercest competitor in the league, making a statement for an MVP-caliber seasonMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant is having a monstrous season. He is fired up, determined and seemingly filled with a rage that is driving him to put up over 40 points in consecutive games. But many questions remain for the Lakers, as the team that once was is no longer. 

Currently entrenched in a tumultuous battle against the Indiana Pacers, it is difficult to ascertain whether the Lakers are a legitimate threat in the Western Conference and beyond this year. But with an individual determination unlike any other player in the NBA, Kobe Bryant will absolutely ensure the fact that the Lakers make a deep run in the playoffs.

He is averaging an absurd 30.4 points, 5.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Also, Kobe is genuinely the most stubborn, and one of the most intelligent players in the league. And he's not alone in his magnificent nightly efforts.

Andrew Bynum is truly staking his claim as one of the best centers in the league, averaging 15.8 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. Pau Gasol is also close to averaging a double-double as well, with 16.3 points and 9.4 rebounds. These three alone make the Lakers difficult to contend with each and every night. The height advantage that the Lakers have is a huge asset, having two massive players in the post that not only rebound but score as well.

While players like Derek Fisher are slowing down because of age, he still has the ability to make clutch shots from beyond the arc in the final minutes of games. This is an experienced, fiercely competitive team with players that would rather quit than be shown up on the court.

Coming off of recent tough losses against the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and the Lob City Clippers, the Lakers have drawn some criticism. However, the season is still young and the teams that they lost to will be their fellow competitors come playoff time anyway. Simply and sweetly, they are excellent basketball teams. Looking down the road this season, it is a riskier proposition to assume that the Clippers will continue their run as opposed to the Lakers. When experience matters and tenacity counts, the Los Angeles Lakers make it happen. 

The Western Conference is far too unpredictable to claim that any team beside the Oklahoma City Thunder will win out against the Lakers in a Western Conference Finals situation. The Denver Nuggets are without a doubt a remarkably-talented basketball team, most likely a top three seed in the West, but there's no saying whether or not they can keep this up. With Kobe Bryant at the helm, and fire in his heart, look out for the Lakers to not only beat the surging Indiana Pacers tonight, but to go on as a top seed throughout the rest of the season.