Kobe Bryant will take the court on Sunday against the Raptors, seeing his first action of the season since suffering a torn Achilles injury this past April.
The buzz surrounding Bryant’s long-awaited debut continued at the Lakers practice facility on Saturday, when Mike D’Antoni answered questions about how much Bryant will play, at what level, and just how much his return will impact a team that has built great chemistry in getting off to a 10-9 start without its best player.
First, the minutes:
D’Antoni on Kobe’s minutes tomorrow: “Somewhere in the 20s, but not more than that.” No strict limitations, “we’ll just watch it.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 7, 2013
Next, what can we expect from Bryant, from Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
“He’s not going to be above the rim for a while, which is fine,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said Saturday. “There’s been great players that have played below the rim. He’ll have to do that for a little bit.”
He averaged 27.3 points and six assists last season. Can he come close to those numbers this season?
“I think so,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t think right at the start, but I’d give him a month and he should be back to those numbers.”
And finally, how the addition of Bryant will impact his teammates, from Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles:
“[Bryant is] a big piece. You throw that boulder in the water, there’s going to be some ripples,” D’Antoni said. “People have to adjust to it and some people’s minutes will be adjusted.”
All eyes will be on Bryant and the Lakers Sunday night to see how it all plays out.