Road to 3-Peat: Top 5 Spoilers

No. 2 Kobe Bryant’s Knee and Other Injuries

“I’m old.  It felt good enough to get thru the playoffs I’m obviously going to have to look at the knee and figure some things out…same thing with the finger, without the tape I can’t grip the basketball.”

-Kobe Bryant post-game 7, NBA Finals

To start the preseason, Bryant told the media his knee was at about 60 percent. A couple of nights later, he played just shy of 25 minutes and went 2-for-15. The next two games weren’t any better. Just before Lakers fans went into a frenzy, Bryant almost effortlessly scored 19 points in the third quarter going 7-for-12 and 2-for-4 from the arc against the Jazz. Then he had some more set-backs, Phil Jackson said he would limit his minutes to around 25 a night and off we were again on the rollercoaster-of-post-knee-surgery-Kobe.

Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant gestures against Barcelona during NBA Europe Live basketball game at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Besides being the best closer in the game, Bryant commands the double, sometimes triple team, is an excellent perimeter defender and even when he can’t find his shot, takes the ball to the rim, draws the foul and ends up at the stripe. Oh and this just in, Bryant can rebound. His mere presence on the floor benefits the Lakers.

If their goal is to three-peat, the Lakers absolutely need Bryant playing at a high level.

Then there’s Andrew Bynum who wobbled around for most of the playoffs, told the press his knee would neither get better or worse by playing and matured before our eyes with his gutsy decision to play despite his injury.

Then he took a step back.

Bynum was over a month removed from the Lakers victory parade when he finally went under the knife to repair his bothersome knee and as it turns out, was worse than expected. Although he’s recently been cleared for non-basketball related activities, the shape in which he returns and more importantly how his knee holds up come playoff time, could be an issue.

The status of Lamar Odom’s left shoulder, Luke Walton’s back and other things that surface as the season progresses should also be of concern. Not to mention Gasol taking on extra minutes in Bynum’s absence and Derek Fisher not getting any younger.

Next: Familiar rivals, new line-up, big problems

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