Feb 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant speaks during a press conference before the 2014 NBA All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden expects to see '20-year-old' Kobe Bryant this season

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant has a lot to overcome entering the 2014-15 season. He’s now 36 years old and is coming off two consecutive seasons in which he suffered season-ending injuries.

It’s certainly fair to be skeptical about how well Bryant will perform this year.

However, Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden doesn’t seem to be concerned about Bryant declining in ability. Harden told ThePostGame that he expects to see a “20-year-old” Bryant when the Rockets face off against the Lakers in their season-opener.

“I don’t know what he’s going to come back like,” Harden said. ” I know he’s been working. We’ve talked a few times and he’s ready. He’s 20-year-old Kobe.

While the mythology around Bryant suggests one should never bet against him and Harden’s assessment will ultimately be accurate, Father Time waits for no one, even Kobe.

Bryant will still be an effective player, but he’s lost plenty of athleticism and he’s not the same player he once was. Even Bryant admitted his changing body in a recent piece written by Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated.

His body needs to rest. Recently he saw a top nutritionist, hoping to find some magic diet that would restore his energy to its earlier levels, as if aging is but a matter of changing your carbs-to-protein ratio. “There are certain things that my body can’t do that I used to be able to do,” Bryant admits.

Just about every basketball fan would love to see Bryant return to form. But, despite Harden’s comments, it’s not that realistic.


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