Kobe Bryant has said the L.A. Lakers will still make the playoffs despite a competitive Western Conference.
In a Q&A with Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears, Bryant answered several questions about different topics such as whether or not last season could be his last, how his body feels right now, and what he would like to do once his NBA career is over.
The Lakers star was also asked if his team could still make the playoffs this year despite being involved in a competitive Western Conference.
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Bryant replied: “Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does.
“We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”
What did you expect his answer to be? No we’re not going to make it because the team isn’t good enough? Of course he’s going to say the team is going to be in the playoffs!
According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak is saying the same thing as well.
With the five-time NBA Champion turning 37-years-old before the end of the month, this could his last season in the NBA, something which was reflected upon in the Q&A. He says it’s tough to decide when to call it a day.
He said: “We haven’t set anything in stone and I’ve talked about it before. But could this be the last [season]? Absolutely. It’s tough to decide. It’s really tough to make those types of decisions. Players I have spoken to say, ‘Kobe you will know.’
“I’m making this very simple. Either I like playing the game and going through this process or I don’t. I try to strip it down to the simplest form.
"Either I like playing some more or I don’t. But I think that decision needs to be made after the season. It’s hard to make a decision like that before the season.”
He is right. He will know for himself when to stop. However, ambitions of achieving the playoffs in the meantime might be out of reach.
The Lakers only won 21 games last season, and it took 45 wins to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Asking the Lakers to win another 24 games is a huge challenge.
It is likely the wins required for a playoff berth will go up next season as well as the Western Conference becomes even more competitive. With this in mind, I don’t think you'll be in the playoffs with the Lakers again Bryant.