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Monday, October 11, 2010
Kobe's minutes monitored, Fisher on team's historic potential

By Brian Kamenetzky

The Lakers landed back on our side of the Atlantic on Friday, then endured what was apparently a very long, somewhat raggedy practice the next day. But after a leisurely Sunday away from El Segundo, the Lakers started fresh Monday morning. So fresh, in fact, the right shoe of Phil Jackson's gleaming new pair of white Nikes still had the tag on them.

He also had no beard. Fresh kicks, fresh shave: It's the dawn of something new for the 2010-11 season.

Not all new, though. Kobe Bryant again wasn't a participant in practice. Instead, he was lifting weights and receiving treatment for his surgically repaired right knee. With three games this week, Jackson says the team will try to monitor Bryant's minutes a little more carefully, noting the 25 he played against F.C. Barcelona in Spain were a few too many. Jackson said he spoke to Kobe about not pushing too far too fast. "A couple appearances on the floor. Maybe 16-18 minutes are fine. Any more than that right now, I think, is expending a little bit too much," Jackson said. As for the regular season, though, Jackson isn't anticipating any problems.

So basically, there's no real change in Kobe's status, which ought to please Lakers fans. No need to be greedy.

Meanwhile, the Lakers continue to integrate new players into the system. Once they do, the possibilities are impressive. Asked if this could be the most stacked team he has seen in L.A., Derek Fisher certainly didn't shy away from the idea.  "It has the potential to be. I think obviously we've had some great teams, and there have been some great individual parts that have come together to be great. So it's hard to compare guys to Rick Fox and Robert Horry, and [Ron] Harper," he said. "Talent, this is the NBA. Everyone's going to have talent.  But those little things [like professionalism and work ethic], I think that's what our new guys bring to the table the most, and what we'll benefit from."

Obviously it's a little early to proclaim the 2010-11 Lakers the greatest group in franchise history, but this incarnation, beginning with the group advancing to the Finals against Boston at the end of the '07-'08 season, has a chance to place itself at the top of the heap. Dr. Buss himself has expressed the view. Some will argue for the Showtime squads, or the Shaq/Kobe three-peat group, and to some extent it's a matter of taste.

Either way, this shapes up to be among the more intriguing storylines for the upcoming season.

More video below the jump.