Plenty of things motivate Kobe Bryant these days.
Winning a sixth NBA championship both to tie Michael Jordan’s ring count and to increase Bryant’s own collection. Climbing up the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Rehabbing his torn left Achilles tendon as quickly as possible.
But the Lakers, for once, enter this season with low expectations. Departures to key players (Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark), uncertainty surrounding Bryant’s injury and improved conference opponents surely contributed to a panel of ESPN writers predicting the Lakers will finish 12th in the West Standings.
It appears Bryant’s taking notice.
12th I see..
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) August 14, 2013
Bryant’s extremely self motivated, but he’s always looking for an extra edge. That’s why on the night he suffered a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon in mid April, Bryant preemptively predicted plenty of skepticism awaits on whether he can return and still play at an elite level.
“It’s fueling me. I can feel it already,” Bryant said at the time. “People saying players at this stage of their career have an Achilless [injury] and aren’t the same. I can hear it already. It’s [ticking] me off right now.”
It’s safe to say the Lakers’ 12th place prediction has the same affect on Bryant.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org