After a slow start, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has played extremely well over the past few games. Kobe is shooting better, facilitating more, and seems to have his legs under him.
In the most recent game, Kobe even had his first dunk of the season, a surprising posterization of Houston Rockets big man, Clint Capela.
The Lakers are set to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, but in a surprising development, Kobe will not play due to a sore shoulder according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
A surprise for tonight's game at OKC: Kobe Bryant is out with a sore shoulder.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 19, 2015
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that rookie Anthony Brown will make his first career start in place of Kobe:
Byron said Anthony Brown will start in Kobe's place. Brown hasn't played much this season
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 19, 2015
The most important thing here is the health of Kobe. Last season, it was a dunk that tore Bryant’s rotator cuff and put him out for the season. The Lakers and Kobe want him to make it through this final season healthy, so they are surely hoping that this is nothing serious.
The move to start Brown is an interesting one as Metta World Peace had stepped in for Kobe in previous games he missed. Starting Brown instead could be a signal that the Lakers are going to be leaning more on the young players going forward. For Brown, this is one of the toughest possible matchups he could have in a first start as he will have to guard former MVP, Kevin Durant.