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NBA Barometer: Return of the Mamba

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for Rotowire.com. He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year. He also covers the Pistons and Tigers for the site.

Charmed Snake

The Black Mamba is ready to strike again.

Kobe Bryant has a history of returning early from injuries or playing through ailments altogether, and he'll make his season debut Sunday. Less than eights months after suffering a career-threatening Achilles injury, Bryant is ready to suit up.

He's coming off a monster fantasy season in which he finished with averages of 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.7 three-pointers while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 83.9 percent from the charity stripe. Regardless of ranking system or scoring format, Bryant likely ranked as a top-10 player on a per-game basis last season.

Despite his strong showing in 2012-13, there's some concern that Bryant won't be the same dominating player this season. Given the devastating nature of his injury and his advanced age (35), those concerns are legitimate. But should we really doubt the Mamba?

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