With 14 players currently on the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers have a nice blend of veterans and prospects. After drafting D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick, there were questions if Kobe Bryant would remain at shooting guard or move to small forward to allow Jordan Clarkson to start.
Although the season does not start until late October, head coach Byron Scott shared Kobe will play more small forward to allow a Russell-Clarkson backcourt. In a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Kobe addressed playing small forward in his 20th season:
Q: What do you think about playing small forward?
Kobe: “I don’t see what the big deal is about it, honestly. What does that even mean anyway? Everyone plays [expletive] small ball anyway. You got forwards that play like [guards]. [Centers] that play like [small forwards]. What’s the difference? Find me some actual [small forwards] and [power forwards] that actually post up now and then. …
“What difference does it make? Everyone is spreading the floor anyways unless you’re the Memphis Grizzlies.”
Before Kobe made his annual trip to China for the Nike RISE campaign, head athletic trainer Gary Vitti shared a story about informing the five-time champion of the change this upcoming season. In a typical Kobe response, he informed Vitti he ‘could do that.’
With Kobe shifting to the small forward position, it will allow Russell and Clarkson to play major minutes while being the primary ball handlers. Although there are a lot of talented forwards in the game right now, Kobe mentioned that there are not a lot of them that actually post up.[divide]