For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all. His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs). “I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over
No. 3 Toronto Raptors 2015-16: Finished 56-26 for second place but was eliminated in the conference finals in six games to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Best additions: C Jakob Poeltl, PF Pascal Siakam, C-F Jared Sullinger. The first two are products of the draft and could take time to determine just how good they can be. Sullinger is versatile but often is out of shape and frustrating because he can be better. Biggest change: The Raptors’ greatest weakness was the lack of a PF with an ability to stretch the floor. They had Luis Scola last year, an unathletic, non-three-point shooter who was past his physical prime. They were one of the few teams to play with two traditional bigs in the starting lineup.