Kobe Bryant’s return from the Achilles tendon tear will obviously be one of the biggest stories this season for the Lakers, and how he plays when he returns will have a lot to do with how the team will perform this season in a stacked Western Conference.
Lakers legend James Worthy doesn’t know how Kobe will return, but he definitely has a suggestion on how Kobe should play when he comes back, as he told Mark Medina:
One of the biggest challenges for Kobe this year is can he step back […] Can he find a game that will allow other guys to flourish? Then, when you need him, like a Larry Bird or Magic Johnson down the stretch, when you need him, he’ll be more effective. I think that’s the game I forsee for him. I don’t see him dominating and getting 30 points five games a year. I just don’t.
The Lakers definitely have the collection of role players that could succeed in the right setting, and maybe Kobe taking a step back would be what’s best for the team. Guys like Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, and Jordan Farmar could have their games elevated and increase their scoring if Kobe plays as more of a facilitator than a ball-dominant scorer.
Of course, one of the things that makes Kobe who he is, is his mental makeup. That makeup is telling Kobe that he is still the best player in the league and there is a very good chance he will be looking to prove how good he is by averaging 30 points per game after an Achilles injury.
Kobe is a very smart man, and even he knows he would probably be better served by picking his spots to dominate. He’s even spoken publicly about decreasing his minutes this season. But if that ego gets in the way, Kobe will be looking to prove people wrong. Whether that is good or bad for Laker fans, we will find out this season.
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