Rested, ready Kobe spells trouble for rest of the league
Posted Oct 14 2009 10:18AM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The smile is not rested. Kobe Bryant was ear-to-ear through the many championship celebrations, beamed at the Ron Artest signing even if it meant the free-agent exit of good friend Trevor Ariza, cherished the rarity of a quiet summer, delighted at the news that Phil Jackson and Lamar Odom would return and arrived back for camp at the Lakers practice facility here joking about his so-called advancing age.
The smile is non-stop. Everything else: rested.
"I'm just going to go and do what I did last year," Bryant said, a kind of pre-emptive warning to the rest of the league. "I just feel like I'm healthier and stronger."
There's the real warning.
The Kobe Bryant of well-used legs, burning lungs and aching back from carrying the burden of expectations was terror enough for opponents. So imagine the possibilities in the new season. He's been enthused by the chance to play as a defending champion again and revived by an offseason free of basketball. No Redeem Team, no injuries to heal, no inner-Laker conflicts.
There was an Asian tour to pitch shoes and a family vacation to Europe. And that was about it.
"You have to go back some time," Bryant said. "Normally, when I have rest like this in the offseason, it's because of an injury or something like that. But I was perfectly healthy. All I did was get healthier. It's been a long time."
The Beijing Olympics took up his time in 2008, the Tournament of the Americas in '07, trying to tunnel his way out of Los Angeles the same offseason. No summer vacation there. The previous offseason, 2006, was a Team USA camp in Las Vegas, which seemed simple enough. But '05 and '04 were for mending, after missing 16 and 17 games during the regular season.
Basketball in summer 2009?
"I stayed away from it for a good month and a half, two months," Bryant said.
That hardly seems possible. No way one of the all-time passionate workers went six or eight weeks without playing.
"Nothing," he insisted.
No one deserved it more. Bryant had been keeping the most relentless pace in the league, from playing all 82 games in 2007-08 to 21 more in the playoffs to putting off recommended finger surgery to the Olympic prep followed by the Summer Games to going 82 for 82 in 2008-09 and finally playing 23 more games last postseason. Only Lakers teammate Pau Gasol played in the 2008 Finals and Beijing and then through to the '09 Finals, but Gasol had just 66 appearances two seasons ago. Bryant took no break.
That made his fourth championship arguably his most impressive personal achievement. Even for someone whose dedication and training is above reproach, cranking it up to 40.9 minutes a game in the postseason is a serious finishing kick to the marathon.
Bryant turned 31 in August, and he reported to Lakers camp saying that the biggest significance to aging -- this will be his 14th season -- is that the reporters who have been quizzing him all along are getting old.
As for Bryant: "I feel healthier. My legs feel rejuvenated. I feel like I'm in great shape. Nothing's nagging me, outside of the hands and the fingers, stuff like that. But that's fine."
All this comes with the disclaimer that has been obvious to the rest of the league, if not the rest of the world. A rejuvenated Kobe -- who averaged 30.2 points, 5.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds in the playoffs -- means a lot of people had better be practicing their drop-and-roll.
"Maybe that's good for us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said of the fresh Bryant, "because it hasn't been so good for us when he's been tired."
"Rested, sleepy, sick, injured," said Warriors forward Devean George, a former L.A. teammate. "It doesn't matter."
Whatever way, Bryant, a demon worker on his bad days, is revived. That can't be good news for 29 other teams.
thats very very very bad news for the rest of the leauge..especially since now ron can take over the duties of checking the best wing defenders
I have been saying this all alone and also now Kobe will not have to play many season minutes if he doesn't need to and Phil will monitor that. This scary for all team because this year. There may not be a let up when Kobe sits down and he is probably in good enough shape to play the whole season at about 40 min per game. As deep as the Lakers are I think his minutes will be between 35 and 38 and that means you get 35 or so minutes of all out Kobe because that is small time to him now that he is rested. he may not have allowed himself to believe it did not matter but now that he can feel the change he know that having that rest will have helped he a lot.
Mamba has a thirst for a 5th ring & whats also not being talked about is not only does he know how to win, but knows how to win now with THIS cast. Artest is Rodman for those who want to parallel Kobe/MJ. Phil win get the most out of him & he's also 29 now. Knows that this is his chance to add a ring to offset his legacy & a talented, but troubled product of "Da Bridge" His guarding of the opponents best wing allows kobe to play free safety. Don't be surprised if Kobe is NOT on the All Def 1st team this year BUT leads the leauge in steals (assuming of course) chris paul loses one or both of his hands in an unfortunate Foreman Grill accident! lol)
The Lakers has a better team this year and they are more experience. If they stay healthy look out. Bynum will get to play hopefully all season long this time. Odom should be more comfortable off the bench. Shannon Brown may do like Ariza did in his second year and break out. Artest will be solid and take defensive pressure off most of the team. He also add a known tough guy who opposing players will have to face.
This is crazy I think this is a mvp year for KB24 they will dominate everybody in the regular season like last year. They will beat up onthe contending teams and lose some games to the scrubs like always. Watch out this may be a year like wade had last year. Now he can just chill and play the passing lanes and help old D. Fish out with Ron Ron and the twin towers on d this year is going to be scary are we looking at another 3peat? They should play shannon some more and they would be one of the top defensive teams. Great post
The voters might make up for last year and give it to wade if he plays anything like he did last year
two games into the preseason and here is what I observed from the Lakers(yes I know it's just preseason):
Bynum looks like his healthy self. He has been domianting the paint and scored 20 plus both games. The team has been making a concerted effort to get him the ball.
Kobe looks as fresh and quick as ever.
So far, Artest, Pau, and Odom seme to be willing to sacrifice points and are playing team ball and passing up looks while kobe and Bynum are getting after theirs.
Fisher looks like absolute garbage. Easily the worst pg on the roster. I forget what he did in the first game, but second game he was 1-6 shooting had 4 horrible rookie like turnovers throwing the ball out of bounds trying to force it to Bynum. And still getting beat on nearly every defense asssignment. Conversly, both Farmar and Brown have looked very solid.
Zero impact from Morrison so far. He seems to have zero confidence in himself and dissapears on the court.
Sasha is shooting well, but not getting minutes. Maybe Phill has given up on him because right now Brown is the back up sg playing alonside Farmar off the bench.
Farmar and Brown have definitely played well together. Brown bulked up and got stronger over the summer, so he can definitely defend two guards. I think Vujacic will find himself out of the regular rotation.
The situation with Fisher is interesting. He's made some huge shots during his career with the Lakers, but he can no longer defend anybody and his decision making has gotten worse with age. Aaron Brooks gave him fits during the playoffs. He said he wants to play for the Lakers beyond this season, but he needs a wakeup call. It'll be interesting to see if his minutes take a dip this season.
Yes 2 preseason games tell the tale of the season esp. against the great Warriors defense.
Small quick guards will hurt the Lakers, Monta Ellis just did.
Bynum, Brown look good the rest pretty much as expected.
Morrison, Vujacic are awful.
yeah small quick pg will hurt the lakers but they will still win the games and mall guards like monta hurt every team so thats not news and im not too worried about that..pretty much im only worried about injuries. im not sure whats going on with vujacic but i see imma be yelling at the tv once again when he shoots and misses another wide open 3. i expected more out of morrison ince hes healthier but wit the talent on this team i think it would be bet for him to be on another team where he would get more time
Modern day training techniques and medicine have a lot to do with guys like Kobe remaining in peak condition well into their 30's. The guys who are willing to put in the work and have the burning desire to keep playing can keep going longer than ever. Just look at Grant Hill (does NOT move like a 37 year old who has had multiple surgeries).