Kobe Bryant, shooting guard:
At the end of the season, no one looked more worn out and in need of a vacation in the warm sun than the Lakers’ best player. He wobbled down the stretch and into the playoffs on tired legs and it showed as the Lakers were bounced from the postseason in a four-game sweep at the hands of the older but less fatigued Dallas Mavericks in the second round. The Lakers’ run of three straight trips to the Finals ended at just the right time, as far as Kobe-watchers should be concerned. A long summer could be just what Bryant needs to regain his fitness after he played an average of 99 games (regular season plus playoffs) over the last four seasons. The figure rises if you add his Team USA commitments in 2007 and ’08 plus exhibition games.
Stats: 82 games, 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists.
Next: Andrew Bynum.