Kobe Bryant on Steve Nash return: 'He puts me into my scoring role'

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers' leading scorer is looking forward to Steve Nash's return, and the fact that it'll take some pressure off of him offensively.

As the Los Angeles Lakers eye the imminent return of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant is pleased with the progress the floor general is making as he prepares to return from a fractured left fibula that sidelined him since the second game of the season. He's also looking forward to how Nash will make his job a lot easier, and allow him to do what he does best.

"Steve puts everybody back into their natural positions, Bryant said after Friday's practice. "Dwight (Howard) can get a lot rolling to the basket, and dunks and easy opportunities."

Ironically, Bryant hasn't had any trouble scoring this season, despite the Lakers' sub-.500 record of 12-14. He's averaging 29.5 points through 26 games and shooting at career-high 47.7 percent mark. He's done all of that while having the ball in his hands more often in Nash's absence, but Bryant expects things to get easier once he returns.

"He puts me into my scoring role, where I don't have to worry about facilitating too much," Bryant added. "It spends a lot of energy for me to have to bring the ball up and score. I just have to focus on putting the ball in the basket."

Any change at this point should be positive for the Lakers, who have struggled to a dismal start in 2012-13. Nash has been absent from the lineup since Oct. 31, when he suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left leg. With him set to return, most likely on Christmas Day, the team is anxious to see how much balance he'll bring to the floor and how well he'll run head coach Mike D'Antoni's new system.

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