Who would have thought that a Kobe Bryant-less Lakers team would have been greeted with a winning record and such favour from the Lakers fanbase.
Well, they have. The Lakers shot off to a 4-1 record and now look solid and ready for the playoffs. Pau Gasol has played like the star some doubt he is. Andrew Bynum and Ramon Sessions have been given more room to "wow" further and show just how much they are the future of this ballclub. Defensive maestros Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace have brought their "A" games back to league scouting reports and Trevor Ariza look and play alike Devin Ebanks has been called up for more minutes and exposure.
Still, everyone wants Kobe Bryant and his league-leading 28.1 points per game back for the playoffs. From the players on the court to the fans in the stands, they can't do it without him. Despite recent wins, San Antonio, Dallas and especially the titan Thunder in Oklahoma will be too much to bear without the league's reigning iron man.
Still, Kobe's recent suit-and-tie role has made for an interesting side story and a gaze into the looking glass of the legacy of the legend's future. From the phantom-masked Mamba to shrugging off the ESPN seventh best player in the league credit, Kobe Bryant's 2011/2012 season has had a lot of intriguing side stories, but none as lucrative as this.
Back in the day before the dress code, NBA players would don all sorts of fashion courtside while on the chilling list, but since the commissioner's stern Sunday best policy, players are looking more like assistants. Still, Kobe (who has been known to sport some of the finest designer wear courtside while on the injured lists of seasons past) is taking it to the Coach K, Cap or even Phil Jackson extreme looking the part of player coach.
Plus with some Laker fans disappointments with Mike Brown (to be fair he's doing a real decent job) the suit and tie and Italian loafers seem to fit. Phil Jackson knew this would happen. The Zen master would often pass the dry-erase to the Mamba in critical playoff and Final's runs during the championship years ad this is no different. The player some call selfish has not passed on the opportunity to mentor and lead his purple and gold army. He even took to Phil's old seat recently and it all looked so comfortable.
Refusing to talk about his injury to press and even without the precious Spalding in his hand, Kob' has been all about the game and his team. People can stop that selfish talk now. Kobe Bryant sure is making the case of being a good coach one day...but it doesn't end there.
When Kobe's diminishing years come in his later thirties, his playbook mind and basketball I.Q. might just make him the perfect Point Guard. Like the man whose career he's followed, or the co-best player in the league and his tries Kobe could look to quarterback his team in the future. Especially with the development of Andrew Bynum and his paint dominance. Sure Kobe already passes more than most think and Sessions is clearly making a point for the Lakers future guard position but Kobe could potentially switch it up later in his career as the legs get tired and the numbers edge off a little.
Kobe's always been off-guard and a double team drawing playmaker and like Jordan in D.C., Kobe will probably still be able to drop 25 plus at almost 40 on any given night. Still switching from scoring to point guard play during games could give him and the Lakers that extra element and rotation in the Bynum/Sessions new era coming soon that could give them and Kobe more years on the top.
Until Kobe permanently takes his place on the bench, leading his team with his drawn up plays it's something the team could run. Either way it looks like Kobe Bryant is going to have an influence on the Los Angeles Lakers for a long time to come.