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B/R: Kobe Bryant recently made his return from a ruptured Achilles. How do you kind of see the rest of his career panning out? Do you think he'll return to previous form?
GA: I watched his first two games, and they went as expected, or as I expected. He only had like three days of practice—two hard, one just through the motions. I mean, even with the best of players, which he is, I didn't see how he was going to try to dominate the game. He has to ease into it; he has to ease his body into it.
We'll start seeing who Kobe is and what Kobe can bring, I would say, at the All-Star break. He'll have about 15-to-17 games into his system, to get his rhythm—to find his game rhythm. I know everyone is always saying, 'Oh, it's just like riding a bike.' Yeah, it is just like riding a bike. But if you're a marathon runner, a marathon fighter, you have to get to that level.
B/R: Is there any advice you would offer Kobe, as someone who worked through injuries, on how to get back and deal with this moving forward?
GA: With him, no, I wouldn't. There's no advice I could give the best player in the world who has been through injury. If I had to give somebody advice, it would have been Derrick Rose.
B/R: What advice would you have given Derrick Rose?
GA: What he did last year when he missed the whole season was perfect. I loved every moment of it. That's what he should've done. If I could've [waited] longer, that's what I would've done.
When I saw the first preseason game, and everybody was, 'Oh, Derrick Rose is back,' I said to myself, 'He's not going to last 15 games.' Derrick Rose's problem was that, when you land, your knee comes inward. While I'm watching the games, he was—like him and [Russell] Westbrook, they're wild jumpers. Every time he jumps, he's wild. Every time he lands, he's wild. His ability never changed. He never corrected his jumping pattern or his landing pattern.
It was like having a Ferrari on not Ferrari tires. You have it on spare tires. So that's how I would put it: He has a Ferrari engine on spare tires—eventually, they're going to blow.
But when I saw him jumping, I was like, 'Oh man, I wish I could talk to him and say listen, you need to change your game a little bit. You can't go in the lane jumping and exploding like you did. Your body's not ready for it.'
My advice, especially for the first month of basketball, first two months: Just change the way you play. Stay on the ground as much as possible. Don't hit the lane as hard with so much force. That's what you should learn—like with Westbrook. He should have perfected that mid-range game over the summer.