There is a glimmer of hope for the Los Angeles Lakers gloomy season. According to Gary Vitti, athletic trainer of the Los Angeles Lakers, he expects both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash to be ready for the 2014-2015 NBA regular season.
The good news comes at a time when there were a lot of offseason changes for the Hollywood franchise and a lot of uncertainty entering the new NBA season which begins play in October.
Some of those doubts and uncertainties were addressed on Monday in a lengthy interview with Vitti, who has been with the team since the 1990s.
“I have 100 percent confidence that he'll be healthy because of the way he handles his body and the style of play that we'll compete at. We can't play at a frenetic pace. We can push the ball when it's there, and we can certainly let Kobe create out of the post with his back to the basket at this stage of his career,” shared Vitti to Mike Trudell in the team’s official website.
Vitti is most likely referring to the previous seasons when the squad was coached by Mike D’Antoni, who is known for his fast-paced offense—a style that is probably not best for a squad which has 35-year-old Bryant and a 40-year-old Nash.
“And I think we’ll play a style of basketball that is conducive to what Kobe’s body will allow him to do, instead of putting him in situations that aren’t suited for him.”
Bryant played in only 6 games while Nash suited up for 15 in the 2013-14 season when the Lakers landed 2nd worst in the Western Conference and 6th worst in the entire league with a 27-55 win-loss record.
Vitti’s opinion on Nash’s health is not as optimistic as his evaluation of Bryant’s although Vitti admitted that Nash is apparently “100 percent healthy” the last time he talked with the veteran point guard.
“We’re not sure. When nerves are involved, they either get better really quickly, or they take a long, long period of time. There’s usually nothing in between. We're in that really long period now. He'll be coming back to Los Angeles this week, and all my conversations with him are that he has absolutely no neural issue at this point. He's playing full-tilt, unrestricted soccer. He's doing all the corrective injury and performance exercises he's supposed to be doing, and right now he's 100 percent healthy.”
If they make a successful comeback, Bryant and Nash will be re-joining a Lakers roster very different from the one they left behind. Gone from the roster are Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls), Chris Kaman (Portland Trail Blazers), Kendall Marshall (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jodie Meeks (Detroit Pistons), all of whom saw considerable playing time in 2013-2014.
Replacing them are Jeremy Lin (from the Houston Rockets); Ed Davis (free agency), Julius Randle (NBA Draft) and Carlos Boozer (waived by the Bulls) as the major offseason acquisitions plus returning Lakers like Nick Young and Jordan Hill.
Vitti has a warning to Kobe Bryant doubters saying “You’d be crazy to bet against him” regarding his health and status it upcoming season.