While there’s still no official timeline for Kobe Bryant’s return to the court, we’d thought a ramp up in his workouts while the team was in China was a sign he was progressing well and moving closer to the point where he could begin doing more work in practice. Today, after the Lakers practiced however, Kobe spoke with the media about a variety of topics and it turns out that may not be the case after all:
Kobe said he has “scaled back” from increased workouts in China to try and let the Achilles calm down a bit, “loosen up.” It’s still tight.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 24, 2013
Bryant on not doing much of anything: “It’s tough (to hold back).” What is he doing? Set shooting and running, but no sprinting.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 24, 2013
I’m not a doctor, but the fact that Kobe’s achilles is still tight sounds as though he’s still at the point where he’s working on getting back his full range of motion and gaining flexibility in the tendon. It’s good to know that he’s still running and getting in some set shooting, however.
That said, the season is set to tip off on Tuesday and with today being Thursday, it’s difficult to imagine Kobe playing in that game. After all, Kobe’s not yet fully practiced with the team, hasn’t started full basketball activities, and if he’s not even sprinting yet, it’s not likely he’s anywhere close to being at a conditioning level that’s conducive to playing in an actual contest.
I’m hesitant to ever fully count Kobe out from accomplishing something, but just as it was when he first suffered this injury it was always wishful thinking that he’d be back by opening night. And even though he didn’t outright say it today, you can probably bet he won’t be ready.
I’m going to look at this from a glass half full perspective. I kinda figured Kobe would try to play day one to try to silence the naysayers etc. But we have already seen what rushing back early from injury can do (see Dwight Howard). Good to see him be patient with this injury as much as he can be overall. I think him not playing game one takes off a lot of pressure, now he can take his time with it.
I am still figuring Christmas.
I actually think it might be better long-term in some ways if he misses about a quarter of the schedule.
T. Rogers says
I agree on Christmas. And I’m not surprised. I’d rather see Kobe come back and be fully ready. Until then lets hope Pau, Swaggy P, and the guys can at least tread water (play .500 ball).
P. Ami says
T. Rogers, if the Lakers play .500 ball till Christmas, I’ll be ecstatic. Adding a healthy Bean at 80% to a team winning half it’s games would be a huge upgrade on my expectations.
Im with rr on this one, Kobe aint playing on opening night,that ship sailed, even with his almost superhuman toughness he is only human. I dont expect him suiting up for the next 2 months or even more. That would be between 8 almost 9 months like the prognosis from day one.
Smart move by Kobe. No matter how much info he’s received from Beckham, Suggs and Billups in regards to this injury, there’s really no way to gauge a return timeline from a ruptured achilles. Especially if the individual has never suffered said injury. Everyone’s body is different. Maybe that ‘1225’ will actually turn out to be when he makes his season debut.
Don Ford says
Glass Half-Fuller: Kobe’s season is just a warm up for NEXT season: (1) Let’s rosily assume Aaron’s Pipedream, and (2) let’s posit that this season is a mere frothy pro-offense throwaway entertainment. In the light of those two assumptions, maybe it’s good Kobe comes back late, gets a decent few months in, works out next summer, and then is a raging (36 year old) bull next year with Lebron and Wiggins and Carmelo and Wilt and Bird and ……………….
well, i guess it has to be a news story somehow. i think this is all pretty normal for rehab. as long as there aren’t additional or re-injuries, everything is still ok. the tendon is as healed as healing can be. if the tendon and calf amd foot need to be stretched out further before more serious activity that seems about right to me. the ankle has been immobilized for months.
Kobe: This is not good.
T-Mac: I think he was looking at the empty side.
Don Ford: Very amusing
Very upset Dan you did not include Magic and Jordan. They actually have a better chance of playing for Lakers next year then James.
Without Kobe and Nash this could mean 15 and 25 first half. Guess I better find a hobby till January. Humm maybe the winter playing golf and poker in a Palm Springs?
I perfectly understand what Kobe is doing. He’s not going to push himself hard and risk injuring himself again. Look at how D Rose is doing now. Everybody wanted him to come back last season and he decided to wait till preseason to come back. Well now he looks more explosive than ever. So I say kobe take as long as you want and come back 100 percent healthy.
Craig W. says
In the first 6min of the Rocket/Spurs game Howard has 3 turnovers (1 travel and 2 lost the ball plays). If this is going to be the norm then I don’t regret losing him – from a long term point of view. I know, it is preseason and he will definitely look better. However, he just may have already passed his peak, and with his game and height I wouldn’t want to be on the long-term contract side of him.
Houston beat San Antonio, in San Antonio, 109-92. Howard was 7/10 from the floor, and had 15 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, in 30 minutes. He finished with 4 TOs, and a +/- of +13. Houston is now 5-1 in preseason.
Ginobili and Leonard didn’t play, but still.
Craig W. says
Ok, ok, so Howard’s stats got better over the remainder of the game. He still has the same offensive moves. It is just that now he has more complimentary pieces around him – no Gasol to contest his space. I do think Houston is going to find it hard to consistently get the ball down to Howard and I also think he is going to continue to have problems handling the ball down low.
I won’t run the numbers again, but if you look at:
Orlando after Howard–they are going to lose 55-60 games again this year
The Lakers after Shaq
Orlando after Shaq
Houston after Moses Malone and before Sampson and Olajuwon
Milwaukee after Kareem
Philadelphia after Wilt
The pattern is very clear: when a team a loses an elite center, it immediately drops off a bit and has a hard time getting off the deck for 2-3 years or more–and/or until it gets another star. OK, so Howard isn’t Wilt or Kareem or Shaq. If he is just 90% of what he was at his peak, he is still perhaps the best two-way center in the NBA, and is certainly right there if he isn’t, no matter how many FTs he bricks, or how much people in LA dislike him, or how awkward he looks in the post
–and the Lakers lost him with no compensation. No amount of spin is going to change those facts.
Now, to be fair about it, yes: it is possible that Howard’s back will give out in the next 6-24 months, and turn him into Amare Stoudemire, that the Lakers will get Julius Randle and Kevin Love, and that three years from now, we will be able to say that Howard’s leaving was a long-term blessing. And it may well be that I am dead wrong about this team, and that they will rally around Mike D’Antoni and win about 48 games. But right now, today, Houston looks like they have a really good team, and one big reason for that is that they have Dwight Howard. And one big reason that the Lakers look like they are in trouble is that they don’t.
Howard: He is rated the 7th best player in the league, and that is following his worst year ever. He may not be what he was, but he is probably going to make All NBA and All Defense. A guy who does that gets max money. We let him go for nothing. There is no way to sugar coat that. If the Aaron pipedream comes true then – in a warped way – the DH loss will be good. Anything short of the Aaron pipedream however and in the words of a very wise man – the Howard loss will be an “unmitigated disaster”.
i wouldn’t want to build a team around him.
if i had a good team, he might be the piece that sends it over the top and makes the team unbeatable.
it depends on how he feels about it today.
Duncan played 23 minutes. Dwight played 30 minutes. the Spurs only played 12 deep, but they averaged some 18 minutes each. no player played less than 14 minutes, Boris Diaw played the most minutes for the Spurs at 27.
the Rockets had only 8 players with double figure minutes. they had three starters playing 30 minutes each.
this is preseason, you can only look at how people play. it looks like Dwight is doing what he did here. he is scoring some points, playing some defense, and gathering some rebounds and funbling around in between. it remains to be seen how much of this number getting leads to winning. getting numbers is important just because a team needs points, rebounds, etc., but playing to better the team is important too, and Dwight is what Kobe is accused of being, a selfish player(imo). it was exasperating watching him last year. it was worse than Elden Cambell. i liked Elden. i just thought he had a hard time getting focused on the proper task.
something will work out.
el lungo says
Dwight deliberately sabotaged Lakers last year being envious of Kobe.
He will fare much better with the guy with a strange beard.
Craig W. says
I realize that Dwight works hard – he did for the Lakers – but he is somewhat selfish about himself and he hasn’t improved his game – this also describes Shaq, but he started from a much higher skill level and wasn’t so insecure. He also would certainly make the Lakers better this year if you exchanged him for Pau – I wasn’t arguing that point. My point is we would have had to sign him for 5 years and he could very well be, offensively, a boat anchor in 3yrs or so – as he reaches 30. IMO, he certainly isn’t someone I want to build my franchise around – mud put this very well.
I also believe we could be worse this year than last, unless a couple of our pickups turn their careers around. The mitigating factor for this team is the talent of Pau/Kobe/Nash (none of the other teams losing HOF centers had that) and Dwight actively contributed to chemistry problems and style of play issues last year (i.e. he wasn’t having fun and everyone else on the team knew it).
Another interviewer who got the same sound-bite from Kobe. And also got an answer from Steve Nash that will do nothing to dispell the claim that he’s fighting physical ailments that might never be “right” again.
Its only a matter of time before teams begin to “Hack a Howard”and slow down Houstons transition and take possessions away from the Rockets. Not a big Howard fan, I personally think hes an overhyped Shawn Kemp or an explosive Ben Wallace, but the highlights I saw make him look pretty decent. A lot of the finishes I saw he was dunking hard on and its not even close to the weak layups he was doing on the baseline drives (where he usually got stuck under the basket).
Who is Dwight Howard?
mud/Craig W: Your opinions are not unreasonable. I happen to disagree with them, but that doesn’t mean you are wrong : ) DH is no Shaq, however the comparison is somewhat valid: Can’t get along with Kobe, had individual success before LA, but no team success, can’t shoot free throws, and was one of the best players in the league. Then the differences are that Shaq wasn’t just one of the best, he was “the best” for a few years. Also the Laker success is a slight difference : ) So would you rather build around Shaq or DH? Well – OK – we all agree. Would you like to build around Wilt, Kareem, George Mikan? Does anyone like that exist in today’s league? DH is closest. Now, in the modern game, you want to build around LBJ or KD. So there we are. Pipedream or bust. We can’t sign a bunch of second tier players (let’s say 3rd to 4th team all NBA types) and expect to win a title. You need multiple top tens and preferably one of the top 3 in the league. Are we going to get that – pipedream not withstanding? This comparison to Shaq or not wanting to build around him is like this: You are seeking a date to the Homecoming Dance and you want to ask to the Head cheerleader (best player in the league). However the starting QB of the football team asks her before you do. So now you could go with one of the other cheerleaders or you could say – “yea – but she isn’t quite what I am going to build my Homecoming around”. So you go stag and try to pick someone up at the dance (obtain players in FA). This strategy did not work well in high school, and it requires a pipedream to work well in the NBA.
Dwight will look (and play) so much better this season in Houston because he’s happy. It’s as simple as that. He never really wanted to be in Los Angeles, or to share the same uniform as Kobe. Was he coming off of major back surgery last year? Definitely. Was he bothered by a bum shoulder last year? Definitely. But with that being said, you also have to ask, was he giving a half-***ed effort last year because he was unhappy? Definitely. He couldn’t stand Kobe, D’Antoni or the Fan Base (who he felt blamed him for everything that was wrong with the team). Former players – Worthy, Horry, Magic .. – nitpicking about everything from Dwight’s passion for the game, smiling too much on the court and even about the fact that he wore a headband during games (a headband? Are you kidding me?) Seems to me that the only individual who Dwight had respect for within the entire organization was Mitch. Which explains why he wanted to inform Mitch face to face about his decision to leave for Houston.
Dwight upgraded at damn near every position –
1. Parsons is better than any SF (truth be told, do we have any. Or do we have 2’s masquerading as 3’s) that we have on the roster.
2. Harden, due to the fact that Kobe is currently operating on 1 leg, is better than Kobe.
3. Beverly and Lin are hands down a better combo than Nash and Blake. Even if one was to add Farmar, who to me, looks the same, thusfar, as he did during his 1st stint with the team.
4. And once he inserted himself at Center, Pau (or Kaman) is not even a debate.
Bottom line is that Dwight made the best decision for himself. He’s surrounded by a coaching staff (and Fan Base, so far) that appreciates and supports him and a group of players that are around the same age as him that he can grow, and have fun (yeah, fun) with. While we still have kats here acting like we’ll be better off without him. With Kaman (good offensively) as a replacement. Even tho’, as Robert mentioned, “We let him go for nothing.”
Indiana. Washington. Shaqramento. All holding onto and locking down their young, franchise players. Without putting up Posters all over the city. While we have kats here wishing upon a star for LeBron to come save the organization. Enough with the ‘Dwight Bashing’ .. We rolled the dice (trading for him without any type of guarantee from him that he would sign on long term), hoping for a ‘4,5,6 Headcracks’ and instead we ‘1,2,3 Aced Out’ .. Is he perfect? Who is? Does he have flaws on and off the court? Who doesn’t? But I believe it’s time for kats to move on.
P. Ami says
I don’t think it is fair to consider Howard in any way like Shaq. Just watch games. The combination of size, explosion, nimbleness, handle, post-moves, is just not comparable. It’s sad to say, but Shaq was even a better FT shooter. Howard still brings the ball down to make his move in the post, which is why he gets stripped so often. Howard uses his upper body to get around players in the post. Shaq used his legs. One is legal and doesn’t ruin your back. The other is just bad basketball. Shaq had consistent moves from 10 feet out. He could shoot a hook from out there. Howard’s lack of touch limits him to maybe 6-ft out. The one clear advantage Howard has on Shaq is his pick and roll defense. His mobility lets him extend his defense out further than Shaq liked to get. In today’s NBA, it’s a huge skill. That said, comparing apples to apples, you could argue that Shaq was more dominating than Duncan when Duncan was in his prime. 10 years later, Duncan can match Howard.
If Dwight is now 75% of Shaq at the same period of his career, I would be shocked. When we lost Shaq we didn’t have anyone of the quality of Pau to take his place. I definitely think Howard’s ability is a loss of a major asset. The loss of Howard’s personality is probably another story. I would rather he stayed but I was never looking forward to being a fan of a team fronted by that clown.
bryan S. says
Robert: Remember that girl in high school who ran track and liked books and was good at math? She didn’t wear make-up and hung out with nerds. . . . But then at the Homecoming Dance you saw her: dolled up and beautiful in a form fitting gown, a friendly smile on her face when your eyes met . . . Stunned, you asked her to dance and she said yes. Your dream date went from wish to reality! Can the Lakers find a like gem through free agency or the draft? It will take a combination of good fortune, preparation and patience to make it a reality. . .
Look at his numbers for the entire preseason. They are pretty bad. I am pretty that was his only game shooting above fifty percent from the field.
As I’ve said all along he should be sitting out the entire year if he wants to at all resemble the player he was before the surgery.
i don’t want the head cheerleader.
i want someone who makes my life better from her being around, someone who helps me, not just someone who looks good(but if that’s the head cheerleader, then cool). there are a lot of good looking women.
i’d rather have someone like Tyson Chandler than someone like Dwight, just because Chandler will do the dirty work needed, not just look pretty.
Craig W. says
If you are going to live with someone it is nice if they are pretty, but you two better compliment each other or it will be like living in he**.
Just heard Dr. Robert Klapper today and, after listening to all of Kobe’s comments, he feels the biggest hurdle is Kobe’s fear of injuring something – not that he is likely to do any physical damage to himself. The stiffness is normal and not an indication of any type of regression. He needs to play in a game, if only to prove to himself that he can land on his toes and not injure anything.
He is betting Kobe will be in uniform on opening night – against the Clippers; with all the banners issue. He is not saying he will play much, but he will be there and play some minutes.
bryan S: That’s my sweet spot. Really like those tall, athletic types. Librarian look is good too. That fantasy you describe is good, but I am not sure the Lakers can pull that off this year.
mud: I understand, but the comparison breaks down there. This is not about happiness – it is about winning titles. So the equivalent would be if your objective was to be named Homecoming King (NBA Title), then you need to date the head cheerleader. If you are OK with a less exciting date (perhaps eeking into the playoffs if you are lucky), then, by all means – there are plenty of wallflowers available. Myself – I am trying to avoid the record of 8 years without a trip to the Finals (we are entering year 4), and we need those expensive, bratty, good looking types for that. Tyson Chandler types can fill in around after you get the stars.
Tra: Very nice post
ditto what Robert said.
Though i must come clean: i´m looking forward to Mamba jamming one in his face anyway.
Still, for me, true redemption would be to oust them from the playoffs.
see, i can’t stand someone who is itching to be the main guy, but then when he gets his chance he does nothing.
that’s the difference between Kobe, Dwight and all the other pretenders. when Kobe was left with a skeleton team and he faced the hottest team in the league in the playoffs, he took at least one game from those guys himself. the Phoenix series heriocs come to mind. when Dwight was on his own, he was shut down and outplayed by duncan and Splitter and was swept and ejected. i certainly didn’t expect Dwight to win more than one on his own, but i expected at least ONE superhuman effort, especially after a teammate gave his body to get into the playoffs in the first place.
homecoming is not a championship of anything. in fact, as an analogy, it’s like winning the MVP. it’s nice, but meaningless. Homecoming King gets nothing.
btw- Klapper says that what Kobe is describing is more of a mental block than a physical one. since Klapper isn’t the actual attending physician, his comments should be taken with a grain of salt, but they’re still hopeful for fans, anyway.
Purple Blood- that would be true redemption. it would also be funny.
Though i must come clean: i´m looking forward to Mamba jamming one in his face ..
Oh, no question. And bets believe Dwight knows the feeling –
The mitigating factor for this team is the talent of Pau/Kobe/Nash (none of the other teams losing HOF centers had that
This would carry some weight if it were 2009. As it is now, it probably won’t matter very much, particularly since the team is rebooting in 2014 anyway. Most FAs want to play on good teams, so having Howard would possibly have helped with FA recruitment.
And, sure, Tra is exactly right—I had a long post before the season ended detailing all the reasons that I thought Howard would go to Houston.
But the point I am making is very simple: leaving any comps to other centers from the past out of it, Howard was the only All-Star caliber player in his 20s that the Lakers had, and he is one of the best 15 or so players in the NBA. Losing him may somehow work out long-term, but based on what we know now, it has put the organzation in an extremely difficult position, both long and short-term. Continually pointing out flaws in both his game and his personality won’t change that. Even with all the issues, all the injuries, all the bad bench play, and all the bad vibes, last year, once Howard started moving better, the Lakers played at a 56-win pace for half a season. There was some good luck involved in that, just as there was some bad luck involved in the team being 17-24 over the first half. But it is what it is.
i’d rather have someone like Tyson Chandler than someone like Dwight, just because Chandler will do the dirty work needed, not just look pretty
That’s fine; Chandler can work on a team with a lot of scoring around him, and he is a very good player when healthy. But he is not available, nor is there likely to be anyone similar to him available in in FA in the foreseeable future now that Larry Sanders and Derrick Favors have been locked up by their respective teams.
Phoenix-Washington deal as per Marc Stein:
Gortat, Shannon Brown and Kendall Marshall for Okafor and a pick.
Shannon and Trevor now both on the Wiz. I think they will be my fave EC team now.
Also, this means that PHX may have four 1st-rounders in the 2014 draft, although three are protected.
rr, who cares if Tyson isn’t available?
i was only saying that a stat stuffing DH12 isn’t as helpful as a guy like Chandler.
i’m not worried about the future. the future will take care of itself.
even if the future is a disaster, there is little to nothing for a fan to do about it. i refuse to get enjoyment from retelling bad news. in any case, DH12 is gone, gone, gone and after last year, i’m ok with that. he stunk on ice, even though his numbers weren’t that bad.
oh, and who shut him down in the finals? Pau Gasol.
who shuts DH12 down now? any big center with skills, even Tiago Splitter. he’s really a pipsqueak.
there’s no doubt that Dwight will mop the floor with lesser opponents, though.
RIP Bill Sharman. Has rings as both a Laker (coach) and a Celtic.
Washington has apparently waived Shannon Brown.
Free ticket tonight’s me honda center 949 228. 6996
Ops 040-228-6896. Oh well