Breaking Down How Steve Nash Will Impact Kobe Bryant’s Shot Selection

Steve Nash will be back in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform soon. Whether it's in time to face the Golden State Warriors on December 22nd or to take on the New York Knicks on December 25th remains to be seen.

After the team's morning practice on December 21st, Nash told Lakers reporter Mike Trudell that a Christmas Day re-debut seems like the likelier scenario:

Nash: "I felt pretty good." There was a little soreness, as expected. He said there is a chance for Saturday, but "Christmas for sure."

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 21, 2012  

Whenever Nash gets back, he'll be greeted warmly by a Lakers squad that's struggled in his absence. Head coach Mike D'Antoni, under whom Nash won back-to-back NBA MVPs with the Phoenix Suns, thinks Steve's impact will be greatest among LA's bigs, namely Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol (via Mike Trudell):

Mike D'Antoni said he thinks Nash will help Dwight Howard the most, & Pau Gasol second. Top PG's get bigs involved.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 21, 2012  

But let's not forget about the effect Nash's return will have on the player with whom he'll be sharing a backcourt—Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba has performed brilliantly this season, with or without Nash.

At least on the offensive end, as Bryant leads the league in scoring with 29.5 points per game. He's shooting a career-high 47.7 percent from the field and posting a strong 38.1 percent on 5.7 threes per game—his most in seven seasons. He's getting to the free throw line more frequently than he has since 2007-08 and he's registering assists on 26.7 percent of his teammates' made baskets when he's on the floor.

With LA's injuries at the point, Bryant has had to shoulder many of the team's ball-handling and distribution duties. Hence, his assist totals are on the rise, but so are his turnovers as he attempts to hone ...

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