With less than a week before the first game of the season, Kobe Bryant took time to discuss some of the issues that plagued the team last season. The Lakers finished as the seventh seed in the Western Conference and were swept out of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs. Bryant missed the end of the season after tearing his Achilles tendon in April. According to LakersNation.com’s Serena Winters, Bryant mentioned a reason that the team had problems during the past season:
Well, we saw different ways about leading this team. Dwight wanted to do it one way, which he felt like it was effective. I wanted to do it another way so there was just constant tension, Bryant said.
Kobe did mention that the team pulled it together in the second half of the season, when they went 28-12 to finish the year and claim a playoff spot. This off-season, Howard left the Lakers for Houston to join the Rockets, turning down an extra $30 million in the process.
One of the reasons cited for Howard’s departure was his desire to be the main focus of the team, something that he knew could not be possible with Bryant on the team. Bryant has taken the offseason to recover from surgery to repair his Achilles and has been rehabbing in order to return to the court as soon as possible.
He is said to be well ahead of schedule, but it has not yet been determined when he will be ready to go. The problems Bryant mentioned do not seem out of place as both players are used to being the leaders of their respective teams and they were brought together and forced to mesh right away.
Howard and Bryant differ in personalities, so their ideas of leadership were bound to be different. The Lakers have one clear cut leader this year in Bryant, and it could go a long way in determining the outcome of the season.
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