Can Kobe Bryant still score 20 points a night?

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Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Byrant's $48.5m contract extension was overpriced but the veteran will still come good when he finally returns from a knee injury, according to franchise coaching king Phil Jackson.

Bryant signed a two-year extension with the Lakers last November, a deal that maintained his status as the NBA's highest-paid player and guaranteed he will still feature at the Staples Center at the age of 37.

Jackson was asked his thought on Koke and the blockbuster contract by last night, declaring that while he thought the deal was overpriced the Lakers' decision to retain their leader on and off the court is not without justification.

He said: "They paid him more than I would have gone for, but what he's given to this organization, what he gives back, he brings a certain sense of, 'We're going to win!'.

"You got to have a guy on the team that doesn't settle for second. That's one of the areas where the value of Kobe, even at this age, is terrific.

"I think he'll be back," Jackson said. "I think Kobe is going to be still a scorer. He can score. We saw Michael Jordan at the end of his career still scoring 20 points a game and he was 37-38, I think. Kobe can still post it up."

Bryant's headlines have been dominated by injury so far this season, with the star restricted to just six games by successive Achilles and kneecap injuries.

Lakers management expect to have Bryant back in first-team contention in around three weeks, with LA desperate for their talisman to return as they look to avoid finishing up rock bottom of the Western Conference.

LA Lakers
Kobe Bryant

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