At the age of 34, Kobe Bryant is leading the league in scoring, is averaging 38 minutes per game, and now his coach wants him to defend the opponents’ best scorers on a nightly basis.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is doing whatever it takes to help this team on the defensive end, even if it means wearing down his superstar player. Although Bryant is capable of locking down scorers, at this stage of his career, his stamina is not as high as it was before.
However, D’Antoni told Sports Illustrated that he wants Bryant to defend the primary scorer for the rest of the season.
When asked how many more games Bryant will guard primary scorers, D’Antoni said, “43. Unless he dies first.”
The Lakers have struggled mightily on the defensive end this season, and they need to fix their problems on that end of the court if they want to make the next step. At this point, the Lakers are out of the playoff picture and they have to start winning key games now or else they can will end up watching the post-season from home.
Los Angeles averages 103 points per game, and that is no surprise with D’Antoni running the sidelines. However, the team gives up 101 points per game, something that cannot exist for a team that is striving for a championship.
The Lakers certainly have the personnel to win a title, but at this point they are not looking like a team that can even win a game in the playoffs.