Written by Brandon Ribak, creator of Fantasy NBA Zone.
Also check out Brandon at Bleacher Report.

This article was originally published at Bleacher Report.

Ever since Shaquille O'Neal departed from the Los Angeles Lakers, questions have arose regarding to whether or not Kobe Bryant can, in fact, win a championship by himself.

Obviously, Lakers fans without a doubt believe he can, but opposing fans have a great argument to back themselves up with.

At the age of 30, Bryant has found himself with not much time remaining to actually capture his own Finals trophy.

Already being in the league for 12 years, the Black Mamba probably has a good two or three more "Kobe Bryant" type of seasons left in him, before he eventually declines (a declining Kobe Bryant could still possibly remain as one of the most elite in the league).

During the regular season, Bryant averaged the lowest amount of points per game since his 03'-04' season and the fewest minutes per game since his 98'-99' season (possibly due to the presence of Pau Gasol).

With that said, if Bryant does not win a championship ring this season, will he ever get as golden of an opportunity as he has now?

If your answer is no, do you think the heat will be on No. 24 to capture the trophy for the first time in his career without O'Neal?

Also, will Bryant ever be able to be compared to the great Michael Jordan if he never wins a ring on his own?

Lets take a look at the scenario.

If Bryant were to lose in the Finals this season, or not even make it there, can the Lakers really make another run for it next year?

Well, the team will be compiled of the same players that are on the roster as this season, unless a trade is made.

With other teams in the wild west emerging, the answer to that question is that it will definitely not be as easy as it was this year.

Teams will be better, stronger, more experienced, and ultimately more competitive.

With that in mind, the Lakers key players are aging, resulting in possible injuries, inconsistent playing time, and most of all, a drop in overall production.

If the Lakers do not win this season, it looks to me like it just might be the end of Kobe Bryant's road to winning a championship, that is, solo.


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