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Old Kobe Bryant To Shoulder More Load For Los Angeles Lakers? Is Black Mamba Up To The Task?

BY Joe Bacaron | Jul 24, 2015 09:14 PM EDT

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Kobe Bryant's health next season, coming off two major injuries, is still very much in the air. However, he may need to take on a much bigger role for the Los Angeles Lakers than just mentoring the young core of rookie D'Angelo Russell, second year player Julius Randle and 46th draft pick, Jordan Clarkson.

"Part of the reason why this doesn't come up as much is almost surely because no one really knows how much Kobe has left," wrote Darius Soriano for the Lakers fansite Forum Blue and Gold.

"His last three seasons have ended via injury. When he was finally 'healthy' to start last season, he had some flashes of brilliance as a playmaker and scorer, but also saw his efficiency plummet and his effectiveness suffer for longer stretches than any other season besides his rookie campaign," he added.

The NBA 2015 Summer League showing of D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle left much to be desired, although they showed some flashes to justify the Los Angeles Lakers drafting them over the other heralded rookies.

Only few players in the Lakers roster have the ability to create a shot for themselves and others.

"His scoring and finishing ability could turn the types of passes we saw in Vegas go unfulfilled turn into actual points. His ability to bend the defense could give the young players the little bit of extra space that turns a contested look into an open one," the article noted.

But TNT analyst Kenny Smith said there's too much mystery on Los Angeles Lakers star player Kobe Bryant's health for next season.

"I just hope he's healthy, healthy as a 36-year-old can be," he said. "I'm hoping for that. I'm not hoping for Kobe of 22. That's not going to happen."

On how the Los Angeles Lakers can succeed next season, he said, "It all depends on Kobe's injuries and how well healthy is he. That's going to dictate what happens next door here at Staples Center."

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