According to an Associated Press report (via the Boston Herald), DH12 has barely practiced with Bryant but knows a lot is going to be expected of him by his new teammate.
“I know he’s going to be tough on me, but I expect that, and I want him to be that," Howard said. "I want to be that guy. I’ll take all the heat he’s going to give me, because I know at the end of the day, it’s going to make me a better player and a better person. ... I’m willing to go through that process, learn from one of the greatest ever to play the game, and I think it’ll be great."
Howard should be used to taking criticism, as he endured an entire season of it from the media and Orlando Magic fans. Now that he’s in L.A.—an exponentially bigger market than central Florida—he’s going to be under more pressure to produce.
One way to ensure that he fits in with his new teammates, notably Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Bryant, is to actually listen to what the Black Mamba has to say. There is a reason why the 34-year-old SG is widely regarded as one of the best players ever and has five championship rings while Howard has none.
Bryant simply knows what it takes to get results out on the hardwood and win important games. Howard will need to be an eager pupil and listen to Kobe’s teachings, as it will result in success for the Lakers in 2012-13 and beyond.
While it may be mentally taxing and Kobe can be extremely demanding, Howard has all the physical tools needed to take the Lake Show to the next level. If he can get there mentally with the help of Bryant, the Lakers are almost a lock to raise a banner at the end of the season.
There are certainly going to be some bumps in the road, but come springtime, if Howard, Bryant and the rest of the L.A. roster are on the same page—they are going to be the toughest team to beat in the NBA.