In today’s news, ESPN revealed some surprising news about how they project Kobe Bryant to fare in the upcoming season, the Knicks admitted Amar’e Stoudemire would be on a stricter minutes count this season, and Gerald Wallace talked to the media about his departure from Brooklyn.
Kobe listed 25th on ESPN’s #NBArank
As if Kobe Bryant needed any more motivation after tearing his Achilles tendon, ESPN revealed today that he placed 25th on a list of the best players in the NBA.
Bryant’s dramatic 19-spot drop from last season is almost entirely a reflection of the expectations ESPN has for the Hall of Famer coming off the severe injury.
Last season, at 34, Bryant had one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 27.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He also shot an efficient 46.3 percent from the field.
Still, ESPN doesn’t expect him to return to those numbers after suffering one of the most historically debilitating injuries in NBA history.
Being the driven competitor that he is, Bryant undoubtedly will be looking to prove his doubters wrong all season.
Knicks to limit Amar’e
ESPNNewYork’s Ian Begley reports that the Knicks will place Amar’e Stoudemire under an even tighter minutes restriction than he had last season.
Stoudemire’s been bothered by knee problems since the early days of his NBA career. Still, the Knicks believe he could add value to the team in short stretches of playing time. Last season, Stoudemire was limited to 23.5 minutes per game, yet still couldn’t avoid injury troubles.
“We’ve just got to figure out if it’s going to be 10 minutes, 15, 20,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. “We won’t know at this point until he’s back on the floor and seeing how things are going.”
Stoudemire has yet to make an appearance through the Knicks’ first three preseason games. His status for the team’s season opener on October 30 is still in question.
Gerald Wallace felt blamed for Nets’ failures last season.
Unfortunately for Wallace, injuries hampered him all season and he finished with one of the worst statistical years of his career.
After Brooklyn’s first-round exit from the playoffs, Wallace was traded to Boston in the deal that landed Paul Piece and Kevin Garnett.
Now, Wallace has said that he believes the organization focused on his shortcomings after the season ended.
“(The Nets) have to point the finger at somebody like I was the guy to take the blame,” Wallace told Stefan Bondy of the Daily News. “And that was the reason I was traded.”
Wallace averaged just 7.7 points per game and struggled with his shot, connecting on less than 40 percent from the field. Although Wallace had a strong showing in the playoffs, his Nets still lost to a depleted Bulls team, dropping Game 7 at home.
“I felt like we were better than (the Bulls),” he said. “I felt like that series wasn’t supposed to go the way it did. For the most part, I took blame for the season with the poor output I had last year. I think that was one of the main reasons I was traded.”