Lakers’ bench hold the key to Kobe’s return
by Chris Strauss, USA TODAY Sports
There’s still no targeted return date for the future Hall of Famer’s return from a left Achilles injury, but after the Lakers scored 76 bench points in their season-opening 116-103 win over the Clippers Tuesday night, that might not be a bad thing.
The 35-year-old five-time NBA champion was compared by head coach Mike D’Antoni earlier this week to champion racehorse Secretariat, with D’Antoni telling ESPN’s Colin Cowherd “he is a unique individual and he is very headstrong.”
Bryant’s will and determination is legendary and there’s no doubt he’s doing everything possible to get back onto the court as soon as possible. He may listen to the team’s medical staff and coaches, but ultimately, Bryant is going to find a way to play when he says he’s ready, not anyone else.
If the Lakers can continue to get big contributions from players like Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson and manage to string together enough upsets to keep the team at .500 or better during the first month of the season, Bryant’s internal pressure to return before his injury is fully healed won’t be as strong.