The Los Angeles Lakers met at their practice facility in El Segundo Thursday afternoon, when Kobe Bryant, Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash all took turns being surrounded by inquisitive reporters to provide updates on the squad.
Kobe Bryant was first to welcome the cameras and tape recorders. He discussed team chemistry, his ongoing recovery and the recent rankings.
Recently, general managers across the NBA ranked Bryant as the second-best shooting guard in the league -- behind James Harden.
“I think they’re counting on me being on one leg,” Bryant said, adding that he would not rush back from his injury to prove anyone wrong. “The rest, the therapy, is all a part of training."
Bryant preached patience.
“I was cranking it up the entire time I was in China,” Bryant said about his conditioning. “I’ve scaled back since just to let it heal up a little bit more, get a little more flexibility to it.”
Then, Bryant discussed last season and the lack of chemistry with Dwight Howard.
“We saw different ways of going about leading this team. Dwight wanted to do it one way, which he felt like was effective. I wanted to do it another way,” Bryant said. “There was constant tension.”
Before returning the focus to the present day, both Bryant and D’Antoni were quick to point out that the team had a strong second half of last season.
In the present day, D’Antoni revealed that both Steve Blake and Nash were suffering from neck issues. On Thursday, Blake practiced in full, but Nash’s failing health brought up questions of age.
“I practiced most of the practice. I took it a little bit off at the end,” Nash told reporters. “It’s a day-to-day struggle.”
Nash went on to say he would consider taking off second nights on back-to-back games if his body was unable to recover fast enough. He was not volunteering to do so, but the team was looking at the all options to preserve the 39-year-old for the duration of the season.
“We’re in good hands with the three point guards,” Nash said. “I’m not going to give an inch, but at the same time, our team does have that luxury.”
“Now, maybe, is the time where I just need to be realistic,” Nash concluded.