Bryant, who suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in April 2013 and a fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee eight months later in December, averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds over six contests.
“It’s a very, very tough season, but what’s life without a few challenges? You’ve got to have a few challenges,” said Bryant, 35, a 10-time All-NBA First Team selection.
“This summer I’m training really hard. The organization is working really hard to make sure we have a good team. That’s the best time: when people count you out.”
Without Bryant, the Lakers (27-55) finished in the basement of the Pacific Division and failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the third time in two decades.
Fortunately for Bryant, Los Angeles has a surplus of cap space and the seventh pick in a draft that features Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and an extremely deep pool of underclassmen.
“We only have three players from last year’s team signed to contracts right now, including me,” said Bryant, who is inked as a Laker along with Steve Nash and Robert Sacre.
“We don’t have a coach. It’s literally like starting from scratch. It’s not really what we have to do better from last year, it’s just we have to build the right team to win.”
The “Black Mamba” has competed in 1,245 games as a professional and is graying and worn.
Considering Father Time is undefeated, Bryant should expect general manager Mitch Kupchak to be “working really hard to make sure (the Lakers) have a good team.”
Although it’s possible the “Black Mamba” was bit by two fatal athletic injuries in less than a year, last winter may actually prove beneficial and allow Bryant’s bummed hoof to heal.
Ultimately, if Kupchak does his job and the 15-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP makes a healthy return, Kobe Bryant could be on “the right team to win.”by