After eight months of rehabbing his Achilles, Kobe Bryant returned to the court and played 28 minutes. In his season debut, Bryant had nine points and eight rebounds, but committed eight turnovers against the Toronto Raptors.
While there are no minute restrictions, D’Antoni said he would like to keep Bryant around the 25-26 minute range moving forward according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
D’Antoni says he want to keep Kobe around 25-26 minutes range in the future. He played 28 minutes tonight.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 9, 2013
Coming off a major injury, Bryant was naturally rusty and forced a lot of passes in route to his eight turnovers. While most expected Bryant to be aggressive on the offensive end, he clearly wanted to continue the good ball movement the team has had to start the season.
While everyone wants Bryant to score 30 points, it’s going to take some time for him to get in game shape and for the rest of the team to adjust to his return. Although Steve Blake has been the team’s primary ball handler, Bryant initiated the offense in the fourth quarter and the rest of the players weren’t in sync.
With Bryant expected to play around 25-26 minutes for now, the coaching staff and players will need to adjust and incorporate the five-time champion back into both ends of the court.
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