The biggest question for the Lakers this season continues to be when will Kobe Bryant return from his torn Achilles. Being the competitor he is, he obviously wants to be back for the opening night showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers, but whether or not that will happen is still up in the air.
Players have given guesses on when they think Kobe will be back, but no one knows for sure. Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighed in on the subject recently in a conversation with CBS Sports and his beliefs, not only on when Kobe will come back, but how effective he will be when he returns, is sure to make Laker fans pause:
I don’t think he will be able to come back as quickly and completely as he would like. It’s gonna be tough on the Lakers this year […] When Kobe does come back, it’s gonna be a different Kobe and that will definitely effect the outcome for the Lakers long-term. It’s gonna be a test for him this year, absolutely
Kobe Bryant has developed such a persona that everyone just expects him to recover from a serious injury and continue to produce at the level he did last season, which was amazing as it was considering his age. Coming off the Achilles injury will make it even more difficult. To sum it up, Kareem makes a very good point here.
If there is a different Kobe upon his return, it will be on the Lakers to adjust. At the same time, Kobe himself will have to adjust his game due to unforeseen shortcomings and we don’t know if Kobe will believe his game is slipping.
Perhaps we have put the bar a little too high on Kobe returning early and still being one of the five best players on the planet immediately upon his return. But it’s hard to lower a bar when Kobe has routinely raised it every year.
Make sure you check out our interview with Marcus Landry