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NBA lockout: Which players will hurt most, least?

October 13, 2011 |  2:54 pm

Kobe
The discord between the NBA Players Assn. and the league's owners may be a boon for some and curse for others.

So far, two weeks have been shaved off of the season. While that will give the veterans a chance to rest their achy bones, it may squelch other players' momentum.

Who will benefit most from the lockout? And who is hit hardest?

Lockout, Go Away!

Blake Griffin -- After being drafted by the Clippers as the first overall pick in 2009, Griffin sustained a broken left kneecap in the final preseason game. He missed the entire season. The lockout threatens to keep him off the court once again. Griffin, a stunning high fly act who averaged 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds in his rookie debut last season, needs all the experience he can get to reach his potential. Also, his body can only handle those monster dunks for so long. Keeping him away from the hardwood could rob Clippers fans of some great posterization. (Yes, I may have made up that word.)

LeBron James -- My mouth tastes like metal after just typing those words. James averaged 17.8 points during the Finals, down 8.9 points from his regular season average of 26.7 points. It was the largest drop in league history. After his weak clutch showing, the Web started buzzing with jokes such as: "If you ask LeBron James to break a dollar, he'll only give you 75 cents. Why? Because he never has the fourth quarter." James needs to play as soon as possible to take the sour taste out of our mouths and show why he's nicknamed "King James."

Derek Fisher -- Derek Fisher, the president of the NBA Players Assn., has been looking mighty dapper in fine suits at recent meetings, but is he spending too much time away from the sport? If he's going to remain the Lakers starting point guard under Coach Mike Brown's new system, Fisher needs to be in tip-top shape. Not just in tip-top style.

Lockout, Hello!

I made a list of three players. Then I deleted it. Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly the player who would benefit most from a break in play.

Kobe Bryant -- Since being drafted straight out of high school, Bryant has played more than 48,000 minutes of basketball. The 33-year-old averaged 25.3 points last season, his lowest output since  2003-2004, when he shared the ball with Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton. After 14 playoff appearances and seven trips to the Finals, Bryant is constantly plagued by a myriad of injuries. There's no question that he needs rest.

RELATED:

NBA, players' union head to mediation next week

Lakers' Luke Walton adjusts to role as college assistant

NBA vets play ball at Loyola Marymount with lockout on their minds

--Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Kobe Bryant. Credit: Wong Maye-E / Associated Press.

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