In his absence, the Lakers were swept by the
There will be an initial adjustment period as Bryant looks to finds his legs after such a long layoff. He'll need to fit his game into a team that has thrived on sharing the ball.
Last season Bryant took 20.4 shots a game but he also tied his career high with 6.0 assists.
Bryant's shot attempts should dip, assuming Coach
Later in the season, the Lakers may need Bryant to be a scorer first -- but now, he needs to be one of the team's top playmakers.
Bryant's return will naturally result in dips for most Lakers, starting with minutes. If
Nine Lakers average at least 8.3 points a game, starting with
As a team, the Lakers have shot 44.1% from the field and 40.7% from three-point range in Bryant's absence. The Lakers also average 24.1 assists with 14.7 turnovers.
The Lakers managing a 10-9 record without Bryant was impressive, but that's not a playoff pace.
Once the initial adjustment period to Bryant's return is worked through, the Lakers should be able to climb in the Western Conference standings.