Lakers’ Kobe Bryant intrigued with LSU’s Ben Simmons

first_imgDENVER >> With the games becoming unwatchable, Lakers fans have played a new parlor game. For the past two years, they have calculated the likelihood the Lakers will strike it rich in the NBA draft lottery in May. With the Lakers nursing a 4-23 record entering Tuesday’s game in Denver (11-16), all eyes have focused on LSU freshman Ben Simmons, a 6-foot-10 versatile forward who has averaged 18.7 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists. “He’s a fantastic player,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said on Monday in an NBA-sanctioned conference call with international media. “He obviously has a tremendous amount of potential.”The Lakers currently have a 19.9 percent chance at the top pick by virtue of having the NBA’s second-worst record. But Bryant’s question marks have less to do with the Lakers’ draft odds and more to do with Simmons’ DNA. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Bryant argued that will happen.“The Lakers will continue to represent what they’ve always represented. That is excellence,” Bryant said, referring to the franchise’s 16 NBA championships. “Magic (Johnson) represented that. I happen to represent that. The next player will represent that as well. I don’t see that changing much at all. We all go through rebuilding and things of that nature. But the core of the organization and franchise will always be the same, which is winning.” RankingBryant ranked the top five toughest teams he has played: San Antonio and Sacramento in the NBA playoffs, Boston in the Lakers’ 2008 Finals loss, Detroit in the Lakers’ 2004 Finals loss and the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls teams. Bryant listed Hakeem Olajuwon, Jordan, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Clyde Drexler as the toughest opponents he faced.“(Ranking) players is a little tougher for me,” said Bryant, who also mentioned Gary Payton and Anfernee Hardaway. “I came in the league when there were still so many great players.”Circle the dateBryant on playing in Boston on Dec. 30 for the last time in his career: “That’s always been one of my favorite places to play. The fans are so knowledgeable about the game and there’s so much history … To go there one last time to play and be in that city one more time, it’s going to be a beautiful, beautiful moment.”center_img “It’s just a matter of what he wants to take on,” Bryant said. “Do you have the attitude that winning championships is your only mission and your only goal? If you don’t win a championship, the season is a failure. If you have that attitude, the city will absolutely love you and you’ll get this team back to playing and winning at a level that it’s accustomed to.”Bryant then elaborated. “The key is loving what you do,” Bryant said. “If you love getting ready, you love training and you love preparing just as much as you love the end result of winning even more so the end result of winning, then you know you have something truly, truly special.”Bryant also zeroed in on the Lakers’ front office. “Make smart decisions and make smart choices,” said Bryant, whose retirement will allow the Lakers to sign two free agents to a max contract. “We have to get talent, make smart decisions and smart trades with free agent acquisitions.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *