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Kobe Bryant assesses early season struggles: 'I freaking suck'

Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, Los Angeles Lakers fans were just happy to have Kobe Bryant back on the court to open a new season of transition for the Purple and Gold.

Three games in, you could forgive those fans if they're already looking forward to next year.

The Lakers dropped to 0-3 with a 103-93 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, and Bryant looked every bit of 37-years-old, posting 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting, including a 2-of-8 performance from long range, while adding a couple of embarrassing moments to his highlight reel.

cvbg22's post on Vine

"I'm the 200th-best player in the league right now," Bryant said following Sunday's loss, only weeks after calling his No. 93 ranking by ESPN 'silly.' "I freaking suck," Bryant added.

He didn't stop there.

While not everyone would be as colorful linguistically, Bryant's self-criticism is fair, as the 20-year veteran has shot just 31 percent from the field and 6-of-29 from three-point territory through three forgettable games, which unsurprisingly hasn't quelled his desire to fire away.

The future Hall of Famer did miss the final two weeks of the preseason with a leg injury, but it's tough to blame his poor performance thus far on mere rust, as Bryant has posted a putrid effective field goal percentage of 41.1 in parts of the last three seasons (while being slowed by Achilles, knee, and shoulder injuries).

Given the current state of the Lakers and the 55,000-plus career minutes Bryant has logged between the regular season and playoffs, it may be wishful thinking to expect any better from Kobe and co. this season. Nevertheless, they'll have a chance to begin righting the ship when they host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

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