3) Kobe Bryant could spend a lot of time at small forward.
It would be horribly presumptuous of Russell to walk into training camp assuming he’s a starter. For that matter, Jordan Clarkson’s strong rookie season isn’t enough for laurel-resting when it comes to the first five. But truth be told, save an unexpected acquisition, at least of these guys is a strong bet to start, and a Russell-Clarkson backcourt is hardly difficult to imagine. And considering Kobe is actually a lock to start, that could slide him to small forward, which might be the best setup for the aging, increasingly fragile icon. His defensive matchups, while not necessarily easier, will at least generally require less foot speed, which will be a major relief to those 37 year-old legs. (Honestly speaking, unless his offensive load is seriously reduced, age and attrition will likely render Kobe a minus-defender regardless of matchup. But every little bit helps.) And offensively, Bryant will be in continual attack mode, with two players available to help with ball-handling responsibilities and set him up in spots where he can do the most efficient damage.
Plus, it should be noted, Kobe may be the greatest shooting guard of his era, but he LOVES playing small forward. Always has. Always will. Thus, should a young backcourt shift Bryant to the wing, you won’t likely hear any complaints.
CONTINUE SLIDESHOW: Four Takeaways From The Lakers’ 2015 NBA Draft Night