It turns out Kobe Bryant played an entire second half with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee. Now, he’s out for at least six weeks, and the Los Angeles Lakers might start to wonder if tanking is something they should consider considering how far the playoffs look and how bad their injury situation is right now.
Lost in the shock of Bryant being out for another very long period is the news that Steve Nash it out for four more weeks. It’s hard to say what that says about Nash’s career at this point, because he didn’t look like a player who has too much to give in the few games he’s been able to play for the Lakers this season. It does, however, suggest that the Lakers have no point guards at the moment until Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar get back from their injuries. The solution? Using Xavier Henry as their point guard, which is getting a little bit desperate.
Now comes the time to really think – what do they want to get out of this season. The problem for the Lakers, and for other “proud” organizations, is pretty much making it clear that they’re tanking. Sending away the best players or simply not playing them. That’s one problem solved, because with this roster, even without any trades or moves being made, the Lakers aren’t getting into the playoffs. I’m not sure it would have happened with Bryant, who hasn’t exactly made the Lakers look better since coming back from injury.
The harder questions are about who to keep and who to send away for the rest of the season. The Lakers took the Gasol trade off the table; now it’s probably back on again. Guys like Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman and maybe others might become trading chips in order to get draft picks or younger players, but in general, it seems like the Lakers don’t really know what to make of their current situation.
The simple solution? Simply play on with this roster. It’s not tanking, but it won’t be far from it. However, the ball movement and quite enjoyable offense we saw from before Kobe Bryant returned from his injury should return, especially if Blake and Farmar don’t stay out for much longer. The Lakers were doing fine in their unclear path towards nothingness before Bryant got injured again, so this march towards not making the playoffs while giving it their all shouldn’t really be affected.