The real test comes Wednesday — it’s not how Kobe Bryant looked in practice Tuesday that will determine if he returns to the Lakers lineup Friday night, it’s how he feels 24 hours later.
Still, he looked good.
That according to everyone who saw him. Here are some tweets from Lakers reporters out of the practice.
As noted above, what matters most is how Kobe’s body responds tomorrow. Notice that the dunk above is off the right foot, not the repaired left. As is to be expected.
Kobe did not speak to the media (likely he will not until Thursday) but you get the feeling he will be back this weekend.
The Lakers play at Sacramento on Friday night then host Toronto on Sunday.
Don’t expect to see Steve Nash in either of those games. He practiced for 10 minutes but both the reporters there and Nash himself noted he looked much farther away.
The Lakers are without Jordan Farmar for the next month due to a torn hamstring, leaving Steve Blake as the only point guard healthy and active. The loss of Farmar is a blow to the second unit, where he helped orchestrate a surprisingly successful unit. Farmar also had some good run next to Blake. Now Mike D’Antoni is going to have to scramble his rotations a lot.
Of course, he was going to have to do that with Bryant’s return anyway.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.