Posted by Jay Paris
The screams started when his head poked out of the locker room.
In an venue which has seen better days, Lakers fans hope Kobe Bryant has a few of his own left. A mending Bryant returned to the court in Monday’s exhibition opener at the Valley View Casino Center.
Appropriate, because it’s a gamble to gauge what Bryant, who missed 76 games last year, has left.
Lakers coach Byron Scott scoffs.
“He is driven,” Scott said. “He is Kobe Bryant.’’
But what does the 2014-15 model offer? Bryant, in his 19th year, has spun his chassis’ odometer. Whether he rebounds from a torn Achilles tendon and a fracture knee will be determined.
Not on Monday, of course, when Bryant was restricted to 21 minutes but scored 13 points. What’s going to be interesting is the type of game Bryant delivers. It will be Bryant, but one not playing above the rim. It will be Bryant, a more wiser Bryant, scoring more from the post and mid-post.
Just maybe, he really turns into a that Great Facillator — five assists Monday. Getting the ball to others, while Bryant severs as a complementary piece.
Yeah, I can’t see that happening either.
Not much is expected from the patchwork Lakers, and those in San Diego still holding the Clippers dear, grin about that.
But Bryant looked far from finished on Monday. He moved well, had his fade along the baseline working and didn’t look restricted.
Bet against him at your own risk.
“Yeah,” Scott said with a smirk, “he is pretty good.’’
He’s just going to be pretty different. It’s Kobe Bryant 2.0 and as the Lakers reboot, it’ll be a kick to see what the Black Mamba reveals. Don’t be shocked if he strikes one more time.