Kobe Bryant commits to 2012 Olympics
Team USA got a fairly good player to commit to the cause in 2012. Guy by the name of Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers’ shooting guard green-lighted another run at the Olympics, committing to it Tuesday on Mike Krzyzewski’s Sirius XM radio show. Krzyzewski coaches Team USA and Duke.
“You guys want me there, I am there and I’m ready to defend,” Bryant said. “And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board I’ll do that too.”
Bryant was a key player on the gold-medal effort by Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, averaging 15 points a game. He did not take part in off-season activities for the team in 2009 or this past off-season.
The U.S. won the world championship in Turkey two months ago with Lakers forward Lamar Odom playing a vital role. Odom, of course, would welcome Bryant’s addition to the team in London.
“He did a great job last time,” Odom said. “The team will be mature and have NBA and Olympic experience. I think it’ll be a lot of fun playing with those guys.”
Bryant will be 34 in 2012.
His first appearance in the Olympics, in 2008, was memorable. He had 20 points, including a late four-point play, and added six assists in Team USA’s 118-107 victory over Spain in the gold-medal game.
The mark of a successful team is often its prowess in back-to-back situations.
Enter the Lakers.
They went 13-7 in the second game of back-to-back sets last season and 14-5 in 2008-09.
They should fare just as well this season on second nights, if not better, because their bench appears to be more reliable. They’ll complete their first back-to-back set Wednesday in Sacramento after beating Memphis on Tuesday at Staples Center.
“We’ve done very well in back-to-backs in recent times,” Coach Phil Jackson said. “It still always puts pressure on a player and puts pressure on your physical well-being and the amount of rest you get. We’ll see how we do.”
The Lakers have only 15 back-to-backs this season, their fewest since entering the league in 1948-49, when they also had 15. The Lakers had 20 last season, their most since 1999-2000.
The Lakers play the fewest back-to-backs in the NBA this season, followed by Phoenix (16) and Oklahoma City (17).
Atlanta, Chicago and Milwaukee each play 23 sets, the most in the NBA.
The Lakers (4-0) are rolling so far this season, but Jackson didn’t want to talk about the implications of it long before they tipped off against Memphis.
“I consider a fast start like 10-0 … so there’s still another few days here before we’ll talk about a fast start,” he said.