SHOULD KOBE BRYANT COME BACK THIS SEASON?
Whether this season is worth coming back to for Bryant was the topic between Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher and Howard Beck. Beck says the guard should probably sit out the entire season because there is nothing to come back to. The Los Angeles Lakers are an injury-ridden mess and are certain to miss the playoffs, so what’s the point?
The issue with sitting Bryant out even if he can come back is this: he needs to have an understanding of where he is physically and mentally heading into next season. There is no replacement for NBA competition. Bryant has suffered two separate devastating injuries he has never had to deal with in the past. There’s no question that he struggled when he initially came back earlier in the season and looked like a shell of himself – perhaps for the first time ever – as he tried to get re-acclimated. If he doesn’t come back this season to find out what level of play he can sustain after suffering a fractured leg, he will be forced to find out next season. Is that something he or the Lakers want to take a chance on?
Look no further than Derrick Rose for the answer to that particular question. The guard took an entire season off and came back this season looking worse than he ever had in his career. After tearing it up in preseason action, no one expected Rose to struggle so badly, but that’s what happens when you take so much time off, especially to an unnecessary extent. For Bryant, coming back is not about trying to make some unrealistic push to make the playoffs – it’s simply too late for that. It’s about getting his legs back under him again and proving to himself that he can come back and be the player he needs to be next season to avoid another disastrous year like this one. That’s unlikely to happen if he sits out just for the sake of sitting out.
Bryant is already down about the idea of having to sit for at least another three weeks, from Melissa Rohlin of Los Angeles Times:
“[I’m] down about it,” Bryant said following the team’s 104-92 loss to the Pacers.
Bryant was examined before Tuesday’s game by Dr. Steve Lombardo. He said he’s still experiencing pain.
“It’s like an internal swelling,” Bryant said. “It’s different. It’s not something that’s kind of on the surface where you can pinpoint and feel the swelling around. It’s deep in there.”
Bryant fractured his lateral tibial plateau in a 96-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 17.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “It’s an injury that I really can’t measure, so I have no idea what it’s supposed to feel like. It’s tough. It never really hurt when I was walking on it in the first place, so it’s tough to gauge it.”
If it were up to him, he would probably never intentionally sit out if he is able to suit up. Health willing, there is no reason we shouldn’t see him playing again this season, whether it’s 20 games or five games.
NOTEWORTHY THOUGHTS FROM DARYL MOREY:
Morey provided plenty of interesting insight on various topics on the Houston Rockets over the past weekend. Some of the players he discusses include Omer Asik, Royce White, Donatas Montiejunas and his point guards. Ben DuBose of Clutchfans.net has details:
“We pushed to trade Omer in December,” said Morey. “We felt we had to make a fair and aggressive effort to do that. Obviously, he’d prefer to be a starter.
“At this point, Omer is very likely going to be here until the end of his contract at the end of next season, not this season. The window to trade him was [in December], and teams weren’t aggressive enough to get him, so we’re excited about him being a part of our future.”
Morey believes his worst moves as a GM were drafting Royce White and surrendering a first-round draft pick in the Terrence Williams trade.
“I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever. He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe. It just shows we swing for the fence,” Morey quipped.
The Rockets are receiving “lots of calls” about Donatas Motiejunas, who asked to be traded in search of more playing time. However, the Rockets prefer to keep him.
“Teams are opportunistic. Any player that other teams like and think is good and that’s not playing, generally that’s who you get calls on. We’ve gotten a lot of calls on Donatas because he’s a mobile 7-footer with offensive skill. He’s not a perfect player, but because he wasn’t playing, teams are like ‘Maybe we can get him on the cheap’.
“We believe in him. I expect him to be here. The reality is, it’s very hard to get a 7-footer who can play as well as him on a $1 million contract.”
The Rockets feel they can win a title despite the relative inexperience of Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley at point guard.
“Classically, we don’t [have enough experience]. Pat Beverley is coming into his first full season, Jeremy is basically in his second as a starter.
Teams aren’t going to give away better players than the ones we have. The Celtics won the title with a first-year starting point guard [Rajon Rondo in 2007-08]. It’s definitely possible to do it.
But we lack experience everywhere. We’re by far the least-experienced team that’s thinking about winning a title.”
Somewhere out there, White is tweeting about Morey’s need to #bewell.
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