The day after Kobe Bryant’s return, the Los Angeles Lakers were back at practice. Bryant participated in a light practice and was pleased with how his body reacted after his first game back. Last night, although Bryant was overwhelmingly excited to be back on the floor, he was overly critical with his subpar performance, grading himself with an “F.”
However, after watching film till 2 a.m. last night, Bryant has since modified his performance to a “D.” After a much anticipated return and a disappointing loss to the Toronto Raptors, Bryant compared his return to the preseason, which in a way makes sense since he was without a training camp.
“I’ve always had sucky preseasons. Always, its just a matter of building your legs, finding your rhythm.”
Last night, both Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and Lakers guard Nick Young discussed the tentativeness of the team and difficulty to find a rhythm, but Bryant does not expect there to be any problems with team chemistry.
“Chemistry will be fine, its not like they haven’t watched me play for 17 years. It’s not rocket science. It’s not like we were gangbusters before,” Bryant laughed at Monday’s practice referring to the Lakers 10-9 record before Bryant’s return. “Guys know how to play with me. It’ll be fine.”
Lakers center Pau Gasol says the biggest challenges with Bryant’s return have more to do with teammates finding and understanding their positioning as opposed to having chemistry issues. Gasol had another disappointing offensive performance against the Raptors, scoring just seven points in 25 minutes as a starter.
His average performance was met with boos from Lakers fans Sunday and, although he acknowledged that he heard them, he also said he doesn’t pay it much attention. The Lakers take on the Phoenix Suns Tuesday before traveling to Oklahoma City Friday, for their first game of their four-game road trip. It’s unclear, but seems unlikely that Steve Nash will be available, as he once again missed Lakers practice on Monday.
VIDEO: Pau Gasol On Kobe’s Return And Difficulty Of Players To Find Positioning