Remember how bad Kobe Bryant looked in the preseason? Wasn’t he supposed to be a month away from being up to speed? Didn’t Phil Jackson say KB24 was going to be playing “limited minutes”?
Sure, Bryant is only playing 32 minutes a night. PJ isn’t about to burnout his biggest asset in November when he needs a healthy #24 ready to go 40 a night in June. But what is most remarkable is how efficient and effective Bryant is in ‘limited’ PT.
This might be hard for SportsCenter highlight crowd to understand but what makes Kobe the hands down best in the world is how much he accomplishes in limited intervals and with minimal touches.
The stats don’t lie. As Bryant matures so to does his game. In playing just over a half an hour of hoops a night, Bryant is dropping 25 per contest, pulling down 6 boards and dishing out 5 dimes all the while shooting 45% from the field and 87% from the line. My man’s game is as finely tuned as the engine in a Bavarian sports car.
Maybe Bryant isn’t the same highflying, highlight hogging two-guard of old. What he’s become is a lethal predator that picks and chooses the most opportune moments to strike. By conserving himself, Bryant becomes a ticking time bomb set to blow just as the competition thinks they have a shot at victory.
Of course, seeing Pau Gasol morph into a top tier NBA talent and having the most versatile 6’10” forward in the league certainly has helped to lighten Kobe’s load. But that doesn’t take away from the precise manner in which Kobe kills the comp nightly.
If he was supposed to be slowed by that knee surgery then color the Kings fooled. Kobe messed around and dropped a Magic Johnson on Sactown, triple-doubling his pleasure in 35 minutes of court time.
How can Bryant top the feat?
Well, the Raptors are in town tonight and we do remember what he did a few years back. I highly doubt Kobe will ever put 81 in the box score again but with the way he’s going you get the feeling he could if Phil played him for 40+ minutes a night.