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Steve Nash calls Kobe Bryant a 'freak,' but in a good way

July 31, 2013|By Eric Pincus

In an interview with Jim Rome of CBS Sports on Tuesday, Steve Nash called Kobe Bryant a "freak" -- but he meant it in the best possible way.

Bryant, who turns 35 on Aug. 23, suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in April. He's midway through the recovery process that was projected to take six to nine months.

Does Nash think Bryant will be able to return at the same level, as if the injury had never happened?

"A doctor would tell you, at his age, it's not very realistic, but we're talking about Kobe. He's pretty driven, talented and he's a freak," said Nash. "I'm sure he'll be back better than ever and people will be marveling at the comeback he's made."

Nash is still recovering himself from hip, hamstring and back issues after a difficult season that started with a broken leg in the second game of the year.

"I'm getting very close to 100%," he said. "I think by the end of the next two or three weeks I should be 100% and still have a month or more to tighten it all up before the season starts."

The Lakers will play without Dwight Howard, who left the team as a free agent this summer for the Houston Rockets.

Some reports have indicated that Howard didn't feel supported by the Lakers organization. Nash has a different philosophy on his own role within a team.

"I've always just wanted an opportunity to play and compete. I've never really had that mind-set of not being supported," said Nash. "I feel like it's my job to support the club, to play well, to train hard, to be a positive influence and try to win as many games as you can for the fans and the club -- for putting faith in you."

Howard didn't seem comfortable on the court in Coach Mike D'Antoni's system. Nash attributed that less to the system and more to Howard's general comfort level with the Lakers.

"If he's not happy, if he's not excited to be there, I think that's going to play in everything that happens on the court," Nash said. "Ironically, Houston plays D'Antoni's system. He'll probably thrive in that system next year because he'll be more comfortable."

Without Howard, the Lakers will also fit D'Antoni's style better as a team, especially with roster additions like Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar and Chris Kaman.

The bigger question for the Lakers remains health, specifically Bryant's as he works his way back from a devastating injury.

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D'Antoni: Lakers 'can be better than most people think'

Pau Gasol looking forward to bigger role in Lakers' offense

Lakers hire Kurt Rambis, Johnny Davis as assistant coaches

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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