Sep 17, 2013, 10:44 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant’s psychology is such that when his teammates struggle on offense he quickly fills that void — he believes he is a better offensive option even if the defense is focused on him than a passive or cold teammate. That has led to some bad choices and miraculous shots over the years.
Now at age 35 coming off an Achilles injury, can Kobe change is ways?
It’s not me asking that question (well, not alone anyway), it is Laker legend, broadcaster and Hall of Famer James Worthy. He spoke with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
“One of the biggest challenges for Kobe this year is, can he step back?” Worthy said. “He’s been in the league for 17 years, has a lot of miles on the body and has had a lot of injuries. Can he find a game that will allow other guys to flourish?”
While all reports are his recovery is ahead of schedule there remains no timetable for Bryant’s return. It is possible he misses the entire Lakers preseason and maybe the start of the regular season as well (they open the season Oct. 29 against the Clippers).
As big a question is what this Lakers team looks like on the court — they are better suited in some ways to run Mike D’Antoni’s offense but there will be a talent step back without Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace. The bigger questions are at the defensive end of the floor — they were a pedestrian defensive team last year that lost their two best defenders.
In a sign of how optimistic some Lakers fans are, Worthy thinks the Lakers will be the five seed and finish ahead of the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies in the West. Most prognosticators have them missing the playoffs (I think they finish around .500, which will be 10th or 11th in the West, so they miss the postseason).
But a lot of that comes back to Kobe, when he returns and how he plays when he does. Can he be even more of a facilitator, even when things aren’t going well?
- PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: Cream rising to top as playoffs near 2
- Report: Patrick Beverley out for rest of season, including playoffs 2
- Breaking down Western Conference playoff chase with two weeks left in season 6
- Breaking down Eastern Conference playoff chase with two weeks left in season 6
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Dwyane Wade is going to will Heat into playoffs 13
- Sad news: Craig Sager announces his cancer has returned 16
- NBA players’ union head believes new labor deal can be reached without a work stoppage 11
- Kendrick Perkins says you’re blowing the LeBron James/Kevin Love thing way out of proportion 23