If somebody asked me if the Lakers would be better without Kobe Bryant five
games ago, I would give them the weirdest look, call them brainless, and then
tell them that they should never talk about sports again. After the Lakers have
won 4 of their last 5 games, the argument is
debatable.

After an abysmal lost against the Phenix Suns, the Lakers
caught a break by having to take on the Hornets. In a game that on paper looked
like a blow out even without Kobe, turned into a close game that the Lakers
edged out 98-96. Thereafter, the Lakers went on the road to  take on the Spurs
in a game where I penciled in a Spurs victory. However, the Lakersnot only won but creamed them 98-84 (fyi, the score doesn't do
justice in how one-sided it was). In hopes of staying above that divided
line from playoff teams and future off-season golf teams, the Nuggets came into
LA looking for a victory to help them stay above the line. What they instead got
was a beaten by the Lakers103-97. Then on national TV, the Lakers battled back
and then held off the Mavericks in a highly dramatic game that went to overtime,
112-108.

So yes, the Lakers beat three above average teams who are
likely going to be in the playoffs without their leader. Winning 4 of 5 games is impressive and pleasing to
a coach even if a team beats the Bobcats, Cavs, Wizards and Kings nevermind the Spurs, Nuggets and Mavs, with two of three games being walks in the park. That's just, as Stewart Scott would
say, saucy.

When I watch this Lakers team without Kobe Bryant, I see a
more balanced attack. I see more players chipping in on offense because of
players sharing the ball and not being greedy and taking
poor-quality shots. And I see players who aren't used to that much playing time
spontaneous to play and taking advantage of their multiplied minutes. Ramon
Sessions, who came to LA exactly a month ago from yesterday, is the one who's
taking the most advantaged of his minutes, looking as if someone who's been
there and done this before with his contributions to the team.

A side-effect of Kobe Bryant being absent, which fortunately for them has not hurt them yet, has been the lack of
go-to player to close a game. Even though they got two close wins in their five wins
out of six without Kobe run, they aren't going to be playing sub-par teams like
the Hornets and Gasol is not going to knock down two clutch threes when playoff
times come. No matter how poorly Kobe plays and hurts his team because of his play, he
is known, especially in the playoffs, for making clutch shots when it matters that
either brings his team back into the game or gives them the lead.

There are some bright things the Lakers are doing without Kobe that they do not do when he is playing. They are passing the ball more, taking better shots, and ultimately playing like a team. When its playoff time, however, they are going to need Bryant because playoff games are mostly decided in the last two to three minutes of game, a place where  he shines the most. If anything, though,  Bryant should look and see how the team is operating without him and start sharing the ball more instead of trying to play hero by putting up contested, tough shots.

In any event, the Lakers are benefiting from Kobe's injury because
he is getting time to rest for the playoffs while the team is winning and the players who do not seem as much time due to being bench players,as well as people around Kobe in the starting line up, are growing confidence and  gaining experience , which is excellent for their preparation for the playoffs
and its atmosphere.