Early Predictions for Kobe Bryant’s Comeback Season

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant will return to the court next season, and it’s interesting to speculate what he will bring to the table.

Bryant has often defied the odds throughout his career, so it seems relatively reasonable for him to bounce back after missing 76 games last year due to an Achilles tear and knee fracture.

Whether it’s winning a title without Shaquille O’Neal when Shaq himself said he couldn’t after the 2008 Finals or slaying the mythical beast known as the Boston Celtics, Bryant has proven he cannot be denied.

That matters when projecting what he will look like going forward. Remember, Bryant has previously put off surgeries and avoided needed rest in an effort to chase after championships.

Consequently, imagining him as anything close to elite isn’t that far-fetched. Keep in mind that Kobe did mention he was “100 percent” healthy on Jimmy Kimmel Live in early May (via NBA.com), and I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt considering some of the unorthodox methods he’s taken to get himself right.

With that said, Bryant isn’t indestructible. He will be a 36-year-old 2-guard when the 2014-15 campaign starts, and an unhappy one at that because of the depleted roster. His body can only take so much wear and tear before it completely gives out.

Perhaps his knee fracture was a warning sign, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe noted in December 2013. Naturally, the Lakers will have to protect their $48.5 million investment in ways that may be foreign to Bryant but that are common practice for arguably his biggest rival.


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