With the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers now sit with a (5-7) record: not too shabby for this Kobe and Nash-less squad.
The season is off to a predictably rough start, with the exception of a few games they probably shouldn’t have won. With excellent wins over both the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets, many Laker fans began asking “Will this team compete and at least be ready to make a push in playoff seeding once Kobe returns?” The answer remains to be seen, as Kobe’s return date approaches, the Lakers might not be winning, but are playing with chemistry which will make Kobe’s transition that much easier.
He will be slower. If we see him dunk this year it’s a miracle, and lets see how many times he even drives to the hoop in his first 4 games. With all that said, Kobe should still be Kobe. Dominant.
This will be a great test for Bryant, who no longer can thrive off the dribble, or come off ‘off-ball screens’ for easy looks. His speed will be diminished and of course his first spurt, or quickness, will be weak in the beginning as well. In the beginning. These are things that should get better with both ‘test and time’. Testing the Achilles with real game time pressures and movements will help Kobe become the ‘Black Mamba’ Laker fans all have known and loved.
Kobe is going to have to show the NBA world his dominance from the post. After mimicking and “stealing” Michael Jordan’s patent fade-away jumper from the post, Kobe has become one of the greatest post up guards in NBA history with the likes of Gary Payton, Magic Johnson, and his ‘Airness’, Jordan.
Bryant’s ability to post up smaller defenders, and fade away from the contested finger tips with the most-stable body control through the air has separated him offensively from any NBA player within the last seven years. This unique offensive weapon that Bryant has mastered almost to perfection will be key in his scoring role on this Lakers squad that desperately needs their best offensive weapon back. The Lakers scoring leader to this point in the season is Jodie Meeks, who averages 13.7 points per game, the worst average for any team’s scoring leader throughout the entire NBA.
Friday the Golden State Warriors (8-3) visit the Lakers at Staples Center. The Lakers have already felt the wrath of the Warriors once this season, losing at Oracle 125-94.
The Lakers face a very difficult November-December schedule, so Bryant’s return will be key, boosting both moral and personnel. Though his return date remains a question, ‘Kobe doubters’ be warned, Kobe will be back, and he will adapt.
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