Kobe Bryant’s first game back after almost 10 months on the shelf was a success. Kobe scored 13 points and dished out five assists in 21 minutes helping the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets in San Diego.
The real question moving forward is if he’ll be able to continue to produce offensively once the regular season gets underway on Oct. 28. Head coach Byron Scott made an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd and was asked about Kobe. Scott believes Kobe still has what it takes to be among the league’s elite, but his nightly offensive production will be lower than usual, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Byron Scott on Kobe: "I think he can average 20. He's still going to be Kobe. He still can average 20-22 points per game." (on @TheHerd)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 8, 2014
An interesting statement from Scott considering back in February of 2012 Kobe said the following about averaging such a low point total to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:
“You think I’d hang around and average 18 points, 19 points… hell no.”
Obviously, a lot has happened since Kobe claimed he wouldn’t want to “hang around” if he putting up low numbers for his standards. Despite that being the case, the five-time NBA champion might have to settle with limitations in his final two years.
At 36, there’s no telling how much Kobe might have left in the tank. The superstar guard is coming off consecutive season-ending injuries and while he looked good in his preseason debut, his body has yet to be put to the test.
Scott’s practices will help keep Kobe in the best shape possible, but whether his body holds up through the rigors of a grueling 82-game season remains to be seen. Kobe is a competitor of the highest caliber and will not go down without a fight, making the upcoming season an interesting one for the future Hall of Famer with so much uncertainty moving forward.
Lakers Vs. Nuggets Post Game: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash Back Together