When the Los Angeles Lakers took the court on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, Kobe Bryant was their starting shooting guard. Following a 12-point loss and an abysmal performance by the Black Mamba, Kobe may have been his harshest critic. When asked how he felt he did, Bryant gave himself an “F” for a grade.
Bryant finished last night with almost as many turnovers (eight) as he had points (nine). Five of those points came from the free throw line, and Kobe finished 2-of-9 shooting. I agree his return does leave more to be desired, but it certainly isn’t anything worth being overly concerned about.
Even though Kobe only scored nine points, he was still the leading scorer out of the entire starting lineup. So if Bryant really thinks he was an “F”, what grade would he give the likes of Pau Gasol, who shot 3-of-11 and finished with seven points and just as many rebounds (eight) as Kobe had? I think the Black Mamba is being a little harsh on himself because if coming off an Achilles tear affected his game, what excuses does the rest of the starting lineup have considering they’re healthy?
Last night’s game is far from the beginning of the end of Kobe’s career. Bryant will rebound just fine from the struggles he suffered in his first game back. After all, the miles on his legs were high enough without the Achilles tear. It may end up taking him a bit longer to get his legs fully back under him and in game shape, but before we know it, Kobe will be Kobe once again.
After all, if Bryant thought he was an “F” last night, then there’s one positive to take away from all of this: he can only go up from here.
Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org