Just 11 days after returning from a torn Achilles, an MRI revealed Kobe Bryant has a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, the Lakers announced today. The timetable for his return at the moment is 6 weeks which would have him return around the start of February. If he returns for the first game of February, the Lakers will have played 47 games this season. The current Lakers team (with or without Kobe) isn’t a force in the West this year; their best case scenario would’ve been a 1st round exit in the playoffs.
With this latest injury, the Lakers have as good a reason as any to go into all out “tank mode” for at least the next 6 weeks. They own their pick in next year’s loaded draft, so bottoming out this year would have big rewards long term for the team. If they were to get a top 4 or 5 pick this year they could accomplish a few things at once:
– They could acquire a player to partner with Kobe to make a deep playoff run for Kobe’s twilight years
– They can get the future face of the franchise for the Post-Kobe Era (P.K.E.)
– They get a valuable young piece to help entice future free agents to come and play ball in the City of Angels.
If they can manage to snag Wiggins, Parker, Exum or Randle this draft, they give Kobe a chance to compete next year whilst securing their future and drastically increasing their chances of getting Kevin Love, Westbrook or another star to come to town during free agency.