Rest of NBA Should Be Scared of Kobe on a Mission in 2013-14 Season

The refrain from faithful Los Angeles Lakers fans has been the same from the moment Kobe Bryant went down last year with a torn Achilles: "Just you wait—No. 24 will be back and better than ever next year."

A quick scan through the facts shows that Bryant has quite a hill to climb—in the sense that Mt. Everest is a hill.

If he somehow manages to return to an All-Star level, Bryant would be the first guard of his age to do so following a major surgery. According to Basketball-Reference, only seven backcourt players aged 35 or older (Bryant will turn 35 before the 2013-14 season) have ever made the All-Star team.

And none of them did so after sustaining an injury as career-threatening as Bryant's.

Compounding the unlikelihood of a potential Bryant resurgence is the horrible track record of players who've sustained his particular injury. Only Dominique Wilkins, who tore his Achilles at age 32, managed to come back looking like the player he was before his injury.

But as Kyle Wagner of Deadspin points out: 

At the time of his injury, Dominique had played 27,482 minutes over 10 seasons (playoffs included). Kobe, now in his 17th year, has logged 54,041 minutes. He's just two years older than Wilkins was at the time of his injury, but he has twice as much pro basketball mileage on his legs. And that doesn't even take into account Kobe's slogs through international competition (another 37 games started).

Not particularly encouraging, is it?

But believers in Bryant aren't interested in facts, and they're firmly convinced that the Lakers star is capable of bucking every trend and returning to his dominant form. It's a hard sell, but here's the case for Bryant terrorizing the league upon his return.


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