In the past three seasons, Lakers star Kobe Bryant has been all but hobbled by various injuries including a mangled pinky, arthiritic finger, bad back, ailing ankle and knee. To add to all of those discretions, Bryant hasn't taken a summer off yet.
Since his first trip to the NBA Finals without Shaq, Kobe has been literally living in the gym every summer without resting his body. I personally believe that him not participating in the Olympics this year will give him time to recover, and he will be able to perform at an extremely high level during the season.
As seen in the first round vs. OKC, Bryant wasn't as smooth as usual. He came off of his back and ankle injuries, and the absence in some of the Lakers final regular season games. Many wrote him off as being over the hill as he was slowed by a knee with constant swelling. The next two rounds when he got some rest and therapy on his knee, Bryant returned to form for the most part.
During this year, look for Bryant to be a little more explosive and also motivated this season. Expect the same from injured Laker Andrew Bynum as well.