Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott has faced quite a challenge this season dealing with how to use superstar Kobe Bryant. The face of the franchise is playing in his 20th season coming off three consecutive season-ending injuries and clearly isn’t the dominant player of old.
During the first few weeks of the 2015-16 NBA season, Bryant has struggled in more ways that one. Kobe has yet to get into a rhythm in order to play efficiently on a nightly basis while also dealing with his 37-year-old body breaking down.
Coach Scott has done his best to limit Bryant’s minutes throughout the season in an attempt to preserve the veteran for the long haul. Although Scott has made an effort to play Bryant around 31 minutes per game, Kobe has already played 35 minutes or more twice this season and knows that’ll take a toll on the future Hall of Famer via Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles:
I really got to fight myself on that. I don’t want to get to the point where now we have 70 games left in the season and with 20 games left, he’s worn out—that I’ve basically worn him out.”
Coach Scott admits that if Kobe is to play efficiency over the next two games, his minutes will need to be pulled back, via Ahmed:
Talking about tonight and talking about Tuesday, if you want him to be able to play both games and be effective, I got to put the minutes back down.”
Although Scott has received a lot of criticism this season for his tactics, the former NBA Coach of the Year is in an incredibly tough position. Not only are the Lakers currently in rebuilding mode with three young players in the starting lineup every night, but he wants Bryant to be able to finish his potential final season on his feet rather than having it end prematurely due to another injury.
Kobe has already had a leg issue this year and is dealing with a sore back to go along with aching knees. The perennial All-Star’s body just isn’t what it used to be, and it remains to be seen whether it’ll hold up regardless of a minutes limitation.