Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, Kobe Bryant enters his 20th season with the Los Angeles Lakers. After three consecutive season-ending injuries and at the age of 37, there are questions if he can remain relatively healthy and improve the team’s chances of competing for a playoff spot.
After a strong performance against the Utah Jazz last night where he finished with 13 points in 20 minutes, Kobe was ranked the 93rd best player in the NBA by ESPN:
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 7, 2015
Since the three major injuries at this stage of his career, Kobe has been ranked 25th, 40th and now 93rd. Before the torn rotator cuff this past season, Kobe averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 34.5 minutes. However, the minutes played and high usage rate resulted in a career-low in field goal percentage and forced the five-time champion to sit out games due to general soreness.
Heading into the new season, head coach Byron Scott will implement a minutes restriction to give his superstar the best chance to stay relatively healthy through 82 games. In addition to the minutes restriction, Kobe is expected to sit out one game in back-to-back situations and no longer has to handle the basketball as much with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.