Los Angeles Lakers to begin season without Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers

Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers will be without Kobe Bryant for at least the season opener (photo credit: lakers.com)

The Los Angeles Lakers will be without Kobe Bryant when they tipoff the 2013-2014 season on Tuesday.

While the Lakers were on a two-game trip in China, Bryant took to the court before the game in Shanghai for shooting drills and sprinting.

Given Bryant’s reputation, this on-court action further fueled the notion that he would in fact return in time for the start of the regular season.

Following a 111-106 win over the Utah Jazz in the Lakers’ final preseason game on Friday, Mike D’Antoni announced what many had expected.  “No,” D’Antoni said when asked if Bryant would suit up for the season opener.

“My God, I know he’s Superman, but my God.  He hasn’t run yet.”

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The effects of Bryant’s Achilles injury as well as the departure of Dwight Howard led to the Lakers being picked to finish 12 in the Western Conference by ESPN writers.

According to ESPN, that means the Lakers will miss the playoffs and finish behind teams such as, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks,  Portland Trail Blazers, and New Orleans Pelicans.

More controversially, ESPN ranked Bryant as the No. 25 player in the NBA, down 19 spots from his sixth-placed rank last season.

Results from the league-wide General Manager survey revealed Bryant is no longer considered the best shooting guard in the NBA. James Harden took the honor with 56.7 percent of the vote.  Bryant garnered 20 percent.

This marks the first time Bryant wasn’t voted first in the 12-year history of the survey.

Ruled out for Tuesday’s game, it doesn’t appear likely Bryant would be available on Wednesday when the Lakers head up north to face the Golden State Warriors.

With Bryant’s return date unknown, the Lakers are likely looking at a 1-3 or 2-2 record through their first four games of the season.

Lakers’ first week games

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers,  Tuesday, October 29, 7:30 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, October 30, 7:30 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs, Friday, November 1, 7:30 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, November 3, 6:30 p.m.