Kobe Bryant blew everyone away with a stellar performance in practice on Tuesday. Based on everything the Los Angeles Lakers saw from the Black Mamba, a possible Dec. 6 return against the Sacramento Kings is looking more realistic than ever.
Proving his legs were feeling springy after months of rehab, Bryant snatched the ball away from Xavier Henry and took it all the way for a lefty jam.
Yeah, practices are going to be a lot less enjoyable for most of the Lakers wings now that No. 24 will be taking them to class on a daily basis.
Notably, Bryant didn't jump off his surgically repaired left Achilles on that play. If you're looking for an opportunity to be skeptical, though, that's pretty much your only avenue.
Otherwise, Bryant beasted.
According to Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, Kobe looked like he'd made substantial improvements in his conditioning in a short period of time.
There is no doubt Kobe was much further along in practice today than one week ago. He was faster, cutting sharper, jumping more.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 3, 2013
And in a possible preview of Bryant's future as more of a high- and low-post player, he checked power forward Shawne Williams for a good portion of practice.
As Mike D'Antoni and Kurt Rambis looked on, Bryant showed he was still able to get into the lane.
That wasn't all Kobe did, though. As Mike Trudell of Lakers.com noted, D'Antoni was impressed by Bryant's seeming lack of limitation:
What did @kobebryant do today, D’Antoni? “Everything … he looked good.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 3, 2013
Coaches weren't the only ones excited to see such a strong showing from Bryant, either.
The hops, the defense and the effort were all there for Kobe. Plus, he flashed the facilitation skills he'll need to use to compensate for the absence of Jordan Farmer:
Kobe's passing has been a pleasure to watch. "You think you're just going to double me like that..." he said to the defense.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 3, 2013
Yep, things are looking up for the Lakers. It appears Bryant is ready to hit the hardwood running.