Kobe Bryant was not very happy with the way he played in his season debut Sunday night. The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Toronto Raptors, 106-94, and Bryant showed a little bit of rust in the process. Given it was his first game in eight months; most would be content with that type of performance, but not Bryant. Originally, Bryant deemed his debut as a failure, but gave himself a little bit more credit after studying the film according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com on Dec. 10:
“Bryant finished with nine points on 2-for-9 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and eight turnovers in 28 minutes against the Raptors. After watching film from his debut until 2 a.m., Bryant even elevated the grade he gave himself from an "F" to a "D." ”
Although Bryant gave himself a better grade, a “D” is still not something to be proud of. Bryant is without a doubt his toughest critic, other than the people at ESPN who voted him the 25th best player in the NBA.
Bryant's eight turnovers and timing were main reasons for his assessment. With the Lakers down a couple of point guards, the team will need him to be more of a facilitator and he must be able to take care of the basketball while awaiting the return of Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar.
With time, Bryant should be able to get back into game shape and into the rhythm with his teammates. His minutes will be limited at first, but the stronger he gets, the more confidence he will have on the court. It may take Bryant several weeks to be content with his performance, but just having him on the court should help the Lakers become a force to be reckoned with in a highly competitive Western Conference.
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