Before the start of a new NBA regular season, numerous media outlets will release their predictions for the upcoming season. So far this off-season, many are predicting the Lakers not to make the playoffs, and ESPN has ranked Kobe Bryant the 25th best player in the league.
This morning, NBA.com’s GM Survey was released, and Kobe Bryant’s name appeared often. While general managers no longer believe Bryant is the best shooting guard, he remains the toughest player in the NBA with 31.0 percent of the vote:
1. Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers — 31.0%
2. David West, Indiana — 13.8%
3. Nick Collison, Oklahoma City; Kenneth Faried, Denver; Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn — 6.9%
Most media outlets are clearly predicting that Bryant won’t return as the same player, but no one can question his mental and physical toughness. In a league full of players who flop or require the whole team to carry them off the court due to leg cramps, Bryant has continually shown his toughness, especially when he ruptured his Achilles against the Golden State Warriors.
With the Lakers down two points and a chance to tie, Bryant marched to the free throw line and helped the Lakers secure a playoff spot. After two inspirational free throws, Kobe walked back to the locker room on his own will. No one wanted to see that situation, but it cemented 17 years of toughness and counting.
With Kobe already running, all these preseason predictions will surely serve as motivation. To no one’s surprise, Bryant has changed his Twitter avatar to “1225” to represent ESPN’s prediction of the Lakers finishing 12th in the Western Conference and his rank among NBA players.
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