Kobe Bryant came back last night to much fanfare and even Darth Vader’s Imperial March introduction.
Now it’s way too early for Lakers fans to get on Kobe’s game. His Lakers lost to the Raptors 106-94 last night. The Lakers are 10-10 on the season and have been doing pretty decent without Kobe in the lineup. Now that he is back,will he make them a playoff team? Laker fans shouldn’t panic about his subpar game, in which he graded himself an F. It’s a little bit too early to push the panic button.
The return was hyped up. It started with his Facebook comeback announcement which was cheesy and hilarious. After all the hype and bravado, Kobe didn’t do much. He had nine points on 2-for-9 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and eight turnovers in 28 minutes. Nobody expected him to light up the net and score 81 points. It will take some time for Kobe to get into his groove. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Really, the fact that Bryant is back at all is pretty remarkable on its own. There’s no precedent for a 35-year-old star with over 45,000 regular-season minutes coming back from a torn Achilles. So in that sense, Bryant rewrote history by merely stepping back onto the floor Sunday night. However, he did not show flashes of the old Kobe. There wasn’t any explosiveness, he turned the ball eight times and seemed like he was very rusty. It was expected for him to be rusty since he has not played in a organized basketball game since last April. When Derek Rose came back from a ACL injury early this season, in his first game he had 12 points, 4-of-15 FG, with one rebound, one assist and five turnovers. Players like to take it slow after major surgery.
Will Kobe lead the Lakers to the playoffs? Yes they can if Kobe can stay healthy and if the Basketball Gods are kind to them. Maybe they make it as seventh or eighth seed, six if they are lucky. The Western Conference is stacked with such elite teams like the Thunder, Spurs and Trail Blazers. It will be very difficult for the Lakers to beat one of those teams in a seven game series. He will need the help of his teammates if the Lakers are going to go far in the playoffs. Without Steve Nash (who is considering retiring because of injuries), it makes things much difficult for Kobe. Let’s get this out the way, Kobe will not average 25 points per game this season. He would have to limit some of his play and let his teammates help out with the scoring. Since this is a team that relies on offense, the will need a point guard. My guess is that Kobe will have to play that role until Steve Nash comes back. If he ever comes back.
The savior is back, Laker fans. Just be patient , Darth Vader will be back to his old form pretty soon.