Once their Hall of Fame induction officially materializes for Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, these images will likely become lost amid the dizzying array of memorable performances.
But for a pair that spent more time in the past year bonding in the training room than actually on a basketball court, Bryant and Nash showed plenty of moments in the team’s first formal five-on-five scrimmage on Wednesday that left the Lakers inspired. Both Bryant and Nash appeared to shed plenty of layers of rust after playing in only a combined 21 games last season because of too many ailments to count.
After playing in only six games last season amid left Achilles and left knee injuries, Bryant provided numerous highlights that included a right-handed dunk, multiple pull-up jumpers and fluid movement. A week ago, Bryant impressed the Lakers during an informal five-on-five scrimmage with his movement, shooting accuracy and lift, though he did not dunk. This scrimmage also featured three officials.
“I understand the level of curiosity,” Bryant said. “I just do what I do.”
After appearing in only 15 games last season because of nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings, Nash appeared like his vintage self in so many ways. He ran pick-and-roll sets naturally. Bryant set Nash up for an open 18-foot jumper that he canned. Nash set up others too many times to count.
“Steve impressed me and Kobe impressed me,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “For not playing basketball that much, to play the way they did today and get up and down the floor the way they did yesterday, I was impressed.”