There comes a time when every great player is no longer able to produce at an elite level anymore. With Kobe Bryant fresh off back-to-back seasons in which he suffered a season-ending injury and him currently being 35 years old, that time is now, according to NBA legend and TNT broadcast Charles Barkley.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) August 13, 2014
While Barkley’s comments are sure to land him in hot water with Lakers fans, it’s hard to say he’s wrong here. In all likelihood, Bryant won’t be among the NBA’s best players next season and Los Angeles won’t compete for a title as long as Bryant is their best player.
Now, this isn’t to say Bryant won’t be a good player next season. He will, if he stays healthy.
But this isn’t a guy that’s capable of single-handedly dragging this Lakers team to the playoffs. And considering the talent around him, Bryant would likely have to do that for L.A. to make a postseason trip in 2015.
The Lakers badly needed to land someone such as Carmelo Anthony this summer to give them a chance at winning big in Bryant’s last few seasons, but they failed in doing so and should finish as one of the worse teams in the Western Conference next year.
Bryant and the Lakers will begin their quest to prove Barkley and their many doubters wrong on October 28 vs. the Houston Rockets.