Kobe Bryant: Will a Lockout Help the Aging Superstar?
No one wants to see a lockout debacle in the NBA like the one that occurred in the NFL this offseason, but some would say that teams filled with veterans could use the extra time off. An 82-game season is hard for anyone to make it through, and 82 games doesn't even account for the intense grind of the NBA Playoffs.
But most veterans, including the soon-to-be 33-year-old Kobe Bryant, have been looking at the possibility of playing overseas anyway; it seems they don't want the time off.
Let's take a look at why getting to camp early is so important for some teams, but especially for Bryant and the Lakers; why even if Bryant wanted a rest, he and his team need to get into the Lakers camp as soon as possible.
When a new coach comes to town, regardless of how many veterans there are in the lineup, the coach wants to get a feel for his new players.
One problem with a shortened or non-existent offseason for the Lakers is that Kobe Bryant and Mike Brown haven't had a lot of time to talk about x's and o's.
But beyond the lack of discussion, there are still questions about how the team will adjust.
After having so much success in the triangle offense, how will the team fare in Brown's defense-first system? And where does Pau Gasol fit on Brown's team? What about trades? Is anyone on their way out of Los Angeles?
Without getting on the court and working out some of the issues that arise from inexperience with a new system, Bryant and his teammates will have to work out the kinks during the regular season.
What About the New Guys?
Getting a new coach means unfamiliarity even for the Lakers' veterans, but just imagine how much harder it will be to adjust for the players taken in the NBA Draft when they have no offseason.
Darius Morris, out of the University of Michigan, seems to be a perfect fit for what Mike Brown is looking to do. Morris is a 6'5" point guard with long arms and a good understanding of the position.
Taken right after Morris was Andrew Goudelock, a 6'3" shooter out of the College of Charleston. Although he is listed as a shooting guard, Goudelock led his team in assists and will probably play most of his minutes at the point as well.
In order for Goudelock and Morris to become valuable contributors this season, they will need time to gel with their new teammates.
And as you can imagine, Bryant will want to get a feel for the guys who will be distributing the ball.
Coach Brown has had some time to assess the Lakers new guards, but not enough.
The Lakers are in desperate need of some speed and solid defense at the point guard position, but It will take time and effort to get the rookies NBA-ready. With a lockout, don't expect these two youngsters to be playing a lot of minutes early.
Does Time off Actually Help and What Does a Lockout Mean for the Fans?
Taking some time off definitely has its benefits. Sometimes players need injuries to heal from a long, difficult season or even just to unwind and rest their legs for the upcoming one—time off can be ideal. But it also can cause players to become rusty. There is no substitute for getting on the court.
Many of the league's players are looking to play elsewhere until the lockout is over in order to keep their games crisp and their bodies in shape.
During the first few weeks of the season, if teams don't have much time to get ready for games, we can expect sloppy play and a lot of injuries. Hopefully, if guys do play overseas (I'm still skeptical that players are using that as leverage in order to get a deal quickly, but they do seem serious), it will help with getting everyone ready.
Kobe Bryant and second-round draft pick Andrew Goudelock have both mentioned taking off to play elsewhere. If the two sides can't come together, we just might be staying up all night to catch our favorite players on obscure teams in Asia and Europe.
The lockout should be avoided at all costs. Not only will fans be dismayed with lockout fatigue, but like with the many injuries in the NFL, a lockout could have detrimental effects.