New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott is confident that Kobe Bryant will return to his old self despite the rash of serious injuries the Lakers star has suffered the past couple of seasons.
Scott, who was hired on July 28, 2014 and signed a long-term deal to coach the Lakers, shared the optimism to Fox Sports:
(YouTube/FOX Sports Live)
“It fuels his fire when people are doubting him,” said Scott in the video. “Championships fuel his fire. Kobe is going to surprise a lot of people this year.”
The 53-year-old mentor’s previous stints as head coach were with the New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans Hornets (2004-2009) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013). Scott, who also suited up for the Lakers from in the 80s and 90s, went on to claim that the 36-year-old Bryant is still capable of dropping a scoring average comparable to his career numbers.
“The man is driven. He’s ready. He’s still a guy capable of getting 25 points every single night. When I tell you that he’s going to surprise a lot of people this year and does he still have it, the answer is yes, the Black Mamba is still the Black Mamba.”
For the record, Bryant averaged 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.5 steals in his 18-year NBA career. As expected, those numbers saw a major dip in the 2013-2014 NBA season when he averaged just 13.8 PPG and played in just 6 games.
Entering his 19th NBA season, Bryant is looking to prove the doubters wrong as he tries to come back from a couple of major injuries in his right foot and knee. During the latter part of the 2012-2013 season, he tore his Achilles and had surgery that caused him to miss months. Kobe returned to the Lakers in a December game against the Toronto Raptors but played just a few games before falling to a fractured knee that caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Can Kobe Bryant prove that his new coach Byron Scott is correct in saying that he will have a successful comeback? Or will the Los Angeles Lakers land in the lottery again with another letdown season?