It hasn’t been announced yet, but it will be.

We don’t need to wait until after Monday’s exam with an orthopaedic surgeon to expect the probable.

Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff. If surgery is scheduled, the recovery and rehabilitation will take about six months. It’s January.

The Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs last night, the sixth loss in a row and their worst streak this season. Truth be told, they’ve been on a longer losing streak for a few years now. In the 2010-2011 season, they went 57-25. Since then, victories have become more and more elusive with each passing season.

The blame game in recent seasons has been won by so many people and circumstances – Lakers’ ownership, team management, head coach, lack of talent, injuries, David Stern, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and of course, Kobe Bryant. There is, however, something specific that is lacking in this season that separates it from the last three since the 2010 Championship team was disbanded – leadership.

With Bryant possibly set to miss the rest of this season, the baton is likely to hit the ground with no hand left to carry it on. The Mamba can only lead so much from the bench or during practice or locker room huddles before games. And he can only lead so much on his own. He has no partner in this season’s fight – no Derek Fisher or Pau Gasol, with whom he had unspoken connections and similar competitive drives; not even Steve Nash, one of his last draft mates, coming from a generation of players who valued relentless self-improvement and hard work over privilege and entitlement.

Who is left to lead this Laker team through the rest of this still-long season?

Carlos Boozer, the next most veteran player on the team, has always been that guy who received the passes from Deron Williams and Derrick Rose all those years in Utah and Chicago, but was never the one leading the charge or calling the shots on the floor. He’s due for some leadership testing, but why has it taken 12 seasons to get him there?

Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin – the floor generals in every game, took backseats to Jordan Clarkson’s start versus the Spurs. Price has been in the league for nine years and has always been ol’ reliable on a team, but often fades into the background. Lin’s apprehension is keeping him from reaching the potential that his position requires. He’s been given chances by four teams, counting the Lakers, and aside from Linsanity in New York, his ability to wow the fans and his team has dissipated.

Lastly, Nick Young needs to throw his swag towards doing more than just jacking up shots. Seven years in the league, and despite his enjoyable demeanor and clear love for the game, needs to be given more responsibility.

The Lakers are lost. They played through the last six games with intentions of winning of course, and sometimes they almost did. But because no one is there to gather them in, lead them on the floor and show them how to win, they’re meandering through each contest at the mercy of probability and Murphy’s Law. If you’re down, you’re probably going to stay down, and worse things are most likely going to happen, so you might as well just lay there.

It’s not how winners think, and definitely not how champions play, which is fine because right now, as fate would have it, the Lakers are neither anyway.

About The Author

Leave a Reply