The Lakers will say all the right things about how much they love Kobe Bryant. And how much they miss him now that he’s out with a torn Achilles tendon.
But make no mistake about it. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol especially would LOVE to prove they can win without him. And we’re not just talking motivation here. Both had complained all season about being under-utitlized and not being able to play their games, hinting that Kobe’s domination made him a one man team.
And no matter whose fault it was — Kobe, the coach, Pau, Dwight and others — this was never a team that was hitting on all cylinders. There is a chance that while the Lakers are not as talented without the Kobe-ster, they might be a better team.
Howard and Gasol were monsters against the Spurs. Steve Blake actually played point guard instead of everything going through Kobe. Yeah, I know it’s heresy to suggest they can play at a higher or even higher level without The Mamba. But you’ve got some world class players who are dying to prove it.