The Defending Champion Lakers were defeated today by a FC Barcelona team lead by Juan Carlos Navarro this afternoon.
Lakers fans are going to write this game off because it is a preseason game. Excuses like Kobe Bryant was not fully healthy, and it was a no consequence game are going to used by most Lakers fans.
These excuses are valid, but it can not be ignored that this only the sixth time in history a NBA team has been beaten by a non-NBA team.
Kobe Bryant shot 2-15 from the field and 0-6 from beyond the arc, while speedy PG Juan Carlos Navarro torched the Lakers defense with 25 points and six assists.
My argument is not that the Lakers have regressed, because with the additions of Blake and Barnes, they may be even better this season.
My argument stems around the fact if Kobe is banged up when the games count this Lakers team is going to suffer.
This Lakers team has proven that they can carry on even while Kobe is injured but when Kobe returns to the lineup it is extremely difficult to get back to the Kobe first mentality.
Any team that has their superstar injured is going to suffer. It would be dumb to think otherwise.
The issue is—if Kobe is banged up like he was last season—can he push through for another title run.
My opinion is that Kobe has a lot of miles on those legs, and he has showed signs of decline much like that of Spurs superstar Tim Duncan.
So is it fair to say that if Kobe is not at 100 percent when February roles around that their shot at a title run isn't as guaranteed as most would argue?
Obviously if Kobe is out for the season the Lakers would struggle just like the Mavs would without Dirk, or the Spurs would without Duncan.
My question to all of you Lakers fan's out there is do you really think this Lakers team with the current ailments that Kobe has are the favorites out of the west? And more importantly if Kobe is banged up like this when the season really matters are they still that much better than the rest of the west?
Teams like the Thunder and Portland are very young and ready to prove themselves.
Veteran teams like the Spurs and Mavs are coming into the season with their superstars 100 percent and ready to go.
I understand injuries happen during the season and a lot can change, but maybe some people should question whether they should just hand the keys to the Western Conference to the Lakers.
The ultimate question is whether Kobe can pull a Michael Jordan. Despite injuries pull out his second three-peat? It might be harder than most think.
I am prepared to hear relentless criticism for this article given that I am basing it on the current state of Kobe and a preseason game against a Spanish league team.
But it might be time for the Lakers fans and open their eyes to the other teams out west waiting to pounce on what seems to be a vulnerable Lakers team.