The Los Angeles Lakers will have a drastically different roster heading into the 2015-16 NBA season. Numerous players from last year’s squad left the team in NBA free agency this summer paving the way for a youth movement in Los Angeles.
With the addition of rookie D’Angelo Russell and emergence of Jordan Clarkson as a potential star in the making, Kobe Bryant will likely see some time at multiple positions next season. Head coach Byron Scott wants his two young guards in the starting lineup or at least seeing considerable time on the floor meaning Bryant will have to change things up a bit.
Although it was expected that Bryant would shift to the small forward position next season, Coach Scott also let it be known he’d probably have Kobe playing the power forward position at times as well, via David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Kobe can play one, two and three. There’s no doubt in my mind. And there’s some games, against some teams, where he’ll probably play four. With his tenaciousness, the way he guards people and when his mind is set, if I say, ‘Kobe, you’ve got him,’ he takes that as a challenge. You know how he is. He’ll compete.
With the Lakers going small moving forward, Bryant will have to adjust accordingly and the five-time NBA champion appears to be up to the challenge. Although Kobe is up to the task, it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to battle with some bigs or be content with playing small forward if unable to be as productive as in years past.
As of right now, the Lakers will likely have Russell, Clarkson, Bryant, Julius Randle and Roy Hibbert in the starting lineup. Depending on performances and player evaluations throughout the NBA preseason and training camp, Brandon Bass may end up taking Randle’s spot to start the season.
Also, there’s no guarantee Russell or Clarkson will be starters right out of the gate. Coach Scott may choose to go in a different direction in the coming months if one or both players fail to live up to expectations or seem better suited coming off the bench.