Kobe Bryant reacts to projection

Kobe Bryant might have a little motivation to make the Los Angeles Lakers a contender in the Western Conference.

After ESPN.com posted projections for the conference that had the Lakers finishing 12th, Bryant took notice.

"12th I see.." he tweeted Tuesday night.

The Lakers are reeling from a disappointing 2012-13 season. Saddled with Finals expectations after the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers battled injuries and never came together. They limped to a seventh seed in the West and were swept from the playoffs in the first round by the Spurs.

Worse yet, Bryant injured his Achilles and underwent surgery in April, missing the playoffs and causing some to wonder whether the soon-to-be 35-year-old can return to his All-Star form.

Bryant said this week that "my tendon feels really, really good. I was really lucky."

But the Lakers have some work to do besides Bryant returning to health. Howard bolted for the Rockets, Metta World Peace was let go and Nash is also trying to bounce back from injuries.

The projection had the Lakers even finishing behind the Pelicans (11th) in the West. The top was familiar with the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs, but the projection had the usually lowly Wolves sneaking into the eighth spot.

Since entering the league in 1996-97, Bryant has missed the playoffs once and has won five titles.