Mitch Kupchak On Kobe Bryant: ‘He’s Never Been Great With Rookies’

Mitch Kupchak On Kobe Bryant: ‘He’s Never Been Great With Rookies’

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of his near 20 years in the NBA, superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers has rubbed some of teammates the wrong way. Bryant has a certain approach to the game that many find difficult to keep up with and as a result, these players never have much of a future in Los Angeles.

— Have you seen the ‘Lakers Nation’ phone case? —

With the Lakers roster changing frequently over the last few years, many different young players have had to adapt to Kobe’s style. Next season, it’ll be more of the same with a new crop of rookies coming in for potentially Bryant’s last year in the NBA.

Despite Bryant possibly playing his last season, the superstar likely won’t be cutting his younger teammates and incoming rookies any slack. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently talked about Kobe’s way of handling rookies, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

“He’s never been great with rookies,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said of Bryant. “Rookies have come to expect Kobe’s glare, Kobe ignoring him in the locker room and saying things.”

Although some may disagree with the way Kobe deals with his teammates, the five rings he’s won speak loudly in terms of the future Hall of Famer knowing what it takes to be champion.

Jordan Clarkson and Kobe didn’t spend much time together on the floor last season with the superstar going down with a season-ending shoulder injury 35 games in. Despite the lack of floor time together, the rookie was like a sponge when it came to soaking up the knowledge from the face of the franchise.

As a result of Clarkson’s willingness to learn, the second-round pick was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. This is an accomplishment that not even Bryant was able to achieve back in the 1996-97 NBA season.

In an effort to help develop Julius Randle, Clarkson, and who ver the team decides to draft with the second overall pick, Bryant has said he will workout with these young players this summer. Footwork was mentioned by Kobe as a point of emphasis with Clarkson and Randle.

Bryant might not have the reputation as an easy teammate to deal with, but he definitely puts forth the effort to help his teammates improve. It’ll be interesting to see the results of some off-season workouts with Clarkson, Randle, and possibly Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns learning from one of the greatest players to play the game.

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