SH Blog: Kobe admits public doubt gets to him at times, Wojnarowski says LeBron likely chooses between Heat and Cavs
Remember when ESPN ranked Kobe Bryant as the 25th best player in the league?
It sounds ridiculous, but what people didn’t realize was that the ranks had nothing to do with what the players did last season or in previous years. Rather, it was a projection of what the players may do in the upcoming season, with all things considered. In Bryant’s case, it was easy for analysts to bring down the expectations due to the unpredictability of his recovery from Achilles heel surgery in the offseason.
If you look at Bryant’s twitter avatar, it’s clear that he has seen the ranks, but we haven’t heard how he really felt about it. Until now, that is.
STORY OF THE DAY:
Bryant talked about the tension he had with Dwight Howard last season, where ESPN ranked him for the upcoming season and how public criticism can get to him at times, from Mike Bresnahan of Los Angeles Times:
If Bryant were healthy enough to start on opening night, the Lakers would be an interesting team. You can never count them out as long as the Vino is around. But with no timetable for when he may return to game action – and just as importantly, not knowing whether he can come back as half the player that he was last season – things appear to look rather bleak.
Times flies. And things change. The Houston Rockets are Exhibit A.
One year ago, the Houston Rockets headed into training camp seemingly empty-handed after a summer spent chasing Dwight Howard via a trade with Orlando.
Gone were Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Samuel Dalembert, Courtney Lee and countless others, and in were the unproven Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. It was a seemingly disappointing offseason, but just before the season was set to start, GM Daryl Morey changed all of that, trading Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and multiple draft picks for Oklahoma City sixth man James Harden.
Now, Harden has transformed into one of the league’s premier scorers, and the young cast around him has attracted Howard, the mercurial superstar who spurned the Rockets a year earlier.
There is finally a lot of excitement in the air, and it’s perfectly justified. After losing Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to injury just a few years ago, Morey has quickly rebuilt the Rockets into a contender.
It was quite the day for NBA superstars from the mid-2000s. Making headlines, the Lakers updated the public on Kobe Bryant’s rehab, the Clippers consider taking a flyer on Gilbert Arenas and Tracy McGrady takes to Twitter to campaign for a workout with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kobe still expected to miss preseason
Mike Breshanan of the Los Angeles Times reports Kobe Bryant continues to excel in his rehab assignments. Regardless, the 15-time all star is still expected to miss the entire preseason and possibly more.
“He’s progressing well and has met all the targets and milestones of his rehab, and we expect him to make a full recovery,” Lakers spokesman John Black said on Monday. “One of the key issues is to make sure he builds up strength and endurance not only in his Achilles but also in his legs, knees, back and core.”
With just over a month left until the start of the regular season, the Lakers sound pessimistic about Bryant’s chances of playing in the preseason.
“We’re going to avoid giving a target return date until he’s doing full weight-bearing running and on-court basketball activities, at the earliest,” Black said.
When the Lakers open up training camp in 11 days, Bryant will be forced to watch his teammates from the sideline.
Speaking of training camp…
Gilbert Arenas, who spent last season playing with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, is reportedly looking for another crack at the NBA.
HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy reports that the Los Angeles Clippers are considering taking a flyer on the three-time all star:
I’m hearing that Gilbert Arenas has looked good in workouts this summer. The Clippers may invite him to training camp, according to sources.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) September 17, 2013
Arenas last played in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies in the spring of 2012. He averaged 4.2 points in 12.4 minutes per game in a reserve role.
At only 31 years old, Arenas could potentially provide some scoring and experience off the bench for Los Angeles. He starred in Washington with Antawn Jamison from 2004-2010.
As Gilbert Arenas tries to find a job for him in the NBA, fellow former All-Star Tracy McGrady will be campaigning for a workout with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
McGrady formally announced his retirement from the NBA in August. Still, McGrady has not closed the door on a potential opportunity to compete outside of the NBA. Yesterday, he took to Twitter to put his name out there for the NFL:
Jacksonville @jaguars need to bring me on in for a tryout at QB or receiver!
— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) September 16, 2013
The Jaguars, at 0-2, are widely considered to be the worst team in the NFL. Regardless, Jacksonville’s reluctance to sign local celebrity Tim Tebow indicates that McGrady’s chances of landing a workout are next to impossible. .