ESPN: Kobe Bryant will make his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center.
It will mark his first game since tearing his left Achilles nearly eight months ago.
D’Antoni was confident that the long layoff would not affect Bryant’s impact on the game.
“He’ll be a dominant player,” D’Antoni said. “He can play any way. He can play below the rim, above the rim, beside the rim. I mean, the guy can play any way. He’ll figure out how he’ll be effective and then he’ll come at you with everything he’s got. That’s been his M.O., and I think that’s what he’ll do.”
Love the optimism Mike, I really do. I also get that you’re the head coach and part of your job is to pump his return up as much as you can, but lets slow down just a little bit. You HOPE he’ll be a dominant player. Like I said in a previous blog there is no way to know for sure which Kobe we’re gonna see on Sunday and going forward. Could he be his usual dominant self? Absolutely. Could he also be a shell of the Kobe we’re used to? Yup.
I personally think Kobe’s return will spark the Lakers and bringing him back against a team the Lakers should be able to beat without him makes sense. But I’m not willing to declare him the savior of the season just yet. I need to see him play, I need to see him cut on that left leg in game situations. I need to see the explosiveness is still there. If it is then yeah Kobe will be the Kobe of old, but forgive me for not listening to a head coach that makes a habit out of cheerleading for his players. How many times did we hear D’Antoni gush over his players in NY? Literally every week, so lets see how Kobe does on Sunday and go from there.
P.S. Probably the most anti-climactic video of all time
P.P.S. The fact that my 500th blog on The Loon was about Kobe and The Lakers depresses the hell out of me
ESPNLA: EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Both Kobe Bryant and Steve “The Traitor” Nash returned to Los Angeles Lakers practice Tuesday. However, one of the guards appears closer to a return to game action than the other.
Bryant, who hasn’t played in a game since tearing the Achilles tendon in his left leg nearly eight months ago, scrimmaged for 30 to 45 minutes, according to Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni.
“Today was a good day,” D’Antoni said of Bryant’s first practice with the team since before the Lakers’ three-game trip, nearly two weeks ago. “We’ll see tomorrow how he reacts and everything, but today was a big step forward.”
D’Antoni would not say whether Bryant’s practice performance Tuesday meant he will be playing in the Lakers’ next game, Friday on the road against the Sacramento Kings.
I know Kobe Bryant is a top 20 player of all time, maybe even top 10. That having been said, I don’t think his return is going to spark the Lakers in the way many fans are hoping. First off, we haven’t seen a post-injury Kobe, at least not an injury of the magnitude he suffered last season. We have no idea if he’ll play a few games and get re-injured ala Derrick Rose, or even if he stays healthy if he can perform at the level he’s used to. Secondly, Kobe is old now, he’s got a shit load of milage on his legs and one of them recently gave out. I’m a Dolphins fan and I know how an achilles can change an aging player and Kobe needs his achilles much more than Marino did. So while his return, whether it be this friday or sometime later, will light a fire under the Lakers (who are now sitting at 9-9 and 11th in the West) I don’t think fans in L.A. should get too excited. Even if Kobe sparks an 8 game winning streak and the Lakers jump up to the middle of the playoff pack you have to be aware that at any moment one bad step could not only end his season again, but this time it could very well be his career.
P.S. The article also mentioned that the traitor is close to coming back too…but we don’t acknowledge the Canadian by name anymore on this blog
P.P.S. I kind of like being a wet blanket for Lakers fans hopes