15 February 2008

I Concur . . .

John Hollinger at the ESPN Insider's Blog has this suggestion for Kobe . . .
I have some unsolicited advice for Kobe Bryant: Get the surgery.

If you want to win a championship, it's your only option.

Don't be a hero and try to play with your injured right pinkie. While I admire your willingness to play hurt, I saw you try to play with the bad digit in Atlanta last week and you were as ineffective as I've ever seen you: 4-of-16 from the field, 3-of-5 from the line, for just 11 points. If you do that for the next six-to-eight weeks, you might help the Lakers win a few more games than they would have otherwise. But there's no way you're leading a team to the promised land in that condition.

Looking at the schedule, if he was out for six weeks after getting the surgery this weekend, he'd probably miss 22 out of the Lakers last 30 games. The Lakers have a pretty favorable schedule over that stretch, plus towards the end they should get back Bynum and Ariza. If they went 10-12 in those games, and 6-2 in the remaining 8 games with Kobe back, that'd give them a 51-31 record going into the playoffs. In the highly competitive Western Conference, that'd probably end up giving them the 6th or 7th seed, but with all their players healthy, they could overcome not having the homecourt, even against Dallas, New Orleans, Utah, San Antonio or Phoenix. It'd make their trip through the playoffs difficult, but trying to play with a less effective Kobe would be worse than losing one home game each round.

Add to that his desire to play in the Olympics, if he does that, he wouldn't get his surgery till late September, which means he'd end up missing the first 2 weeks or so of next season, and it seems like each game he plays with this injury is another chance to make it worse, and put himself in a position to miss 3-6 months instead of 6 weeks (but, maybe that's not the case, or the doctors would be more insistent that he get surgery immediately).

His fire as a competitor is amazing, his ability to play through pain already legendary in the league, but the Lakers should be able to hold on for a playoff spot in his absence, and if he's 100% from late March on, then the Lakers would once again be one of the favorite teams to win the Western Conference, and he'd be a near lock to be the Olympic MVP of Team USA's gold medal winning team.

He puts all that in jeopardy by playing, he might win this gamble, but he might lose big, too.

1 comment:

bill said...

Another advantage of taking the surgery now means the other players would have to step up and learn to play without him, making the Lakers that much stronger when Kobe returns.

1. Don't get the surgery, hobble into the playoffs, get bounced early.
2. Get the surgery, Kobe gets healthy and rested, team doesn't improve, get bounced early from the playoffs.
3. Get the surgery, Kobe gets healthy and rested, team improves, doesn't get bounced early from the playoffs.