Kobe Bryant has been a shooting guard throughout his entire NBA career, but when looking at the makeup of the Los Angeles Lakers this coming season, there was an obvious hole at the small forward position. With D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Lou Williams all expected to play big minutes, most assumed that Kobe would be the man to move up to the three.
That looks to be the case as according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Byron Scott expects Kobe to play more small forward than shooting guard this season while Russell, Clarkson, and Williams make up the guard rotation:
Scott sees Russell, Clarkson and newly signed Lou Williams composing the Lakers’ new three-guard rotation. And he sees Bryant playing more small forward next season.
Scott also added that playing the small forward spot could allow the Lakers to get Kobe the ball in areas he is most effective, and save his legs:
If we can get him at the elbows and at the mid-post, the more effective he’ll be. I don’t think he needs to be using up the whole 94-foot floor. If we can cut that down some, I think that saves his legs as much as possible. But if we can get him where he operates best, which to me is elbows on each area, top of the key, at the pinch post, at the mid-post, then I think he can be real effective for us.”
This shift was pretty much expected there really were no other options after the draft and free agency. With Bryant shifting over, Russell and Clarkson will likely start at the guard spots with Williams keeping his normal sixth man role.
Backing up Kobe on the wing will likely be Nick Young, who will have to prove he can do more than just score, especially with Williams being more than capable of handling that role off the bench. Rookie Anthony Brown could also get a look at the three due to his size and defensive potential.[divide]