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Is Kobe Bryant Going To Be The “Dominant” Player That The Lakers Need Him To Be This Season?

Submitted by on December 8, 2013 – 4:03 pmNo Comment

He’s baaaaaaack! Just eight short months after tearing his Achilles tendon and being told that he could be sidelined for up to a year, Kobe Bryant is going to make his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers today when they take on the Toronto Raptors at the Staples Center. Kobe announced his return on Friday afternoon with this dramatic video:

And the Lakers are definitely glad to have him back. Although they have gone 10-9 so far this season, they’ve had an up and down year, and Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni has had to slap together different lineups in order to make up for the lack of Kobe in the Lakers’ offense. So D’Antoni in particular is ready to have Kobe at his disposal again, and he’s expecting him to be the “dominant” player that he’s always been.

“He’ll be a dominant player,” D’Antoni said shortly after Kobe announced his plans to return to the Lakers today. “He can play any way. He can play below the rim, above the rim, beside the rim. I mean, the guy can play any way. He’ll figure out how he’ll be effective and then he’ll come at you with everything he’s got. That’s been his M.O., and I think that’s what he’ll do.”

Are D’Antoni and the Lakers expecting too much from Kobe right now, though? The truth is that they’re going to have to give him some time and let him work himself back into the Lakers lineup slowly. If they’re expecting him to come back right away and be dominant, they’re probably going to be letdown. Because while Kobe will likely be able to dominate certain aspects of games at certain times, he’s coming off a major surgery and playing for the very first time in eight months. So he’s not going to be in game shape—real game shape—for awhile. And as he works himself back into the mix, the Lakers are going to have to be patient and not expect too much too soon.

If they can do that, Kobe’s transition back into the lineup should be seamless. But if everyone questions every single misstep that Kobe takes during his return, it could turn into a really long season for the Lakers.

How do you think Kobe will do when he returns to the Lakers lineup today?

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