Mike D’Antoni: Kobe Will See A Lot Of Time At Small Forward

Mike D’Antoni: Kobe Will See A Lot Of Time At Small Forward


The Lakers have improved their depth greatly this offseason with the additions that they have made. With that improved depth, however, comes questions about the rotation and how to allocate those minutes amongst the number of guards the Lakers have.

Adding Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, and Xavier Henry to the returning Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and Kobe Bryant gives the Lakers a lot of options at the guard position. One remedy Coach D’Antoni has for this issue could be a lot of minutes for Kobe Bryant at small forward, as he told the media today:

Players will be battling for more minutes, less minutes, it will change during the season whoever’s  playing well and who we’re playing against […] but we have depth and we have guys that will carve out minutes […] he’s gonna play a lot, he’ll play 3, he always has.

Bryant is doing everything he can to ensure that he comes back as quickly as he can, and be at 100 percent when he returns. But even at 100 percent it will be a struggle for Bryant to match up against the game’s top small forwards on a nightly basis.

At 6-7 and 205 pounds Kobe gives up at least an inch or two and 30-40 pounds to the likes of Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Paul George, and even Kawhi Leonard. The league is flush with excellent small forwards and it would surely be better for someone like Johnson or Henry to battle those guys.

Of course, you also want your five best guys on the floor and with the number of guards the Lakers have, Kobe may have to play bigger to make that happen. Kobe is no stranger to doing whatever he has to to make this team function, and he will have to do it again whenever he returns this season.


Kobe is given green light to begin conditioning

  • meep

    if that true, must be because were thin at SF since we have guys who are more SGs than SF.

    • Daryl Peek

      No’ it’s because we are stacked at SG and Kobe is a better option than any one else at defending SF’s. It also shows how Blake will get minutes at the SG position with Kobe and Nash on the floor at the same time.

      I see plenty of time for a line up of Nash, Blake, Kobe, Pau and Kaman on the court at times. Meeks is losing favor at SG. He’ll make the team but I could see his minutes getting cannibalized by Blake, Henry, Young, and Johnson. Especially with Farmar getting PG, PT alongside of Blake.

      Believe me when I say Blake is gonna be a major contributor at both PG and SG.

      • meep

        i wouldnt be surprise if blake played some 2 during the season were better off playing all 3 PG then we are giving meeks decent mins. meeks is too streaky with his shooting and i would play Henry over him if i had to choice. since Henry just not a spot up shooter dude goes to the basket too.

        • Gregory Choa

          I think the Lakers best possible starting lineup upon Kobe’s return is;
          1. Nash
          2. Blake
          3. Kobe
          4. Pau
          5. Kaman
          …that would allow the Lakers to feature a very deep, very versatile, and very energetic bench mob of;
          6. Nick Young
          7. Jordan Farmar
          8. Jordan Hill
          9. Shawne Williams
          10. Xavier Henry
          and, for good measure, and if the Lakers carry 15;
          11. Wesley Johnson
          12. Jodie Meeks
          13. Robert Sacre
          14. Elias Harris
          15. Ryan Kelly
          My friends, this is a veritable embarrassment of riches…the Lakers FO is to be commended. Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff have all the requisite pieces they need to succeed with, it’s on them and the players now.

          • Daryl Peek

            Only problem is Young agreed to play for less money long as he’s a starter. Young will likely start at SG or SF.

          • Gregory Choa

            He’ll end up with starters minutes (I imagine 30-32 min/game) whether he starts or becomes the 6th man. If he plays well, he’ll get the minutes and have a real opportunity to make a serious name for himself with the Lakers…I don’t think he should necessarily sweat the starter “tag”…

          • cj

            thats not true at all and is illegal to boot.

          • Daryl Peek

            IDK about the legality of it. I agree it sounds janky but that’s the word on the street about it. We’ll see. ..

          • cj

            i know thats what is been said but its illegal to give incentives to get someone to sign with you

          • Zimmeredge

            yeah but he can start a game and play less minutes. if the team is winning and Young is scoring his 17ppg. it’s okay for everybody.
            it’s good a deep rotation where we have our oldest and best players
            Nash, Farmar, Blake
            Bryant, Blake, Young, Henry
            Gasol, Kaman, Hill, Sacré

            in fact, next year you don’t need a Lebron or a Melo. A Danny Granger or a Luol Deng is quite enough (not to mention that we have a first round pick) a guy who 3-4

          • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

            agree with you that we don’t necessarily need an LBJ or MElo… I would go for Deng…

            Next season, I think we are set at the center position with Gasol, Kaman, Hill… provided Gasol takes a pay cut to the tune of 10-12M… Our PF position is serviceable with Williams in addition to Gasol playing that position with Kelly the third stringer, Getting Deng or Marion will solidify the SF position with Johnson/Young while at the same adding a defensive acumen, Kobe, Henry at SG, Then Farmar, Nash at PG.

            If Mitch can swing a trade for say, Aaron Aflalo … now that is another story. I can dream, can’t I?

          • Zimmeredge

            Shawn Marion? he is a bit old. Right now i pick Luol Deng too but only because we don’t how Granger will perform because of his injury. If he is healthy Danny Granger would be an amazing addition to our roster. AS type of player. Athletic 3 or small 4 who can rebound, shoot threes and not to mention that he is playing for the pacers. The guy is strong and though.
            AA would be a good value to our team. But I wonder if we can have a young draft pick at the 2-3 spot.

            I too, am surprised by how well Shawne is playing for us right now.

          • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

            Shawn Marion is only 35 and is still considered top 10 small forward in the NBA… he will be a free agent next summer, he will be a very good backup to Deng on the SF rotation and he can also play some 4… I agree that Granger would be a great addition because of his shooting, but a rotation of Deng-Marion-Johnson is a very solid combination already specially on defense. They can certainly defend the likes of LBJ and Durant.

            And we can go after Greg Monroe and let go of Hill retain Kaman

            Look at this roster:

            Center: Gasol-Monroe-Kaman
            PF: Williams-Odom-Kelly
            SF: Deng-Marion-Johnson
            SG: Kobe-Young-Henry
            PG: Farmar-Nash-PG

            The talent is championship caliber, and the chemistry will be championship caliber too. Deng is a team player, doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective, same with Marion. We will be a combination of runners and shooters as well as bangers.

          • Guest

            I am not sure how the loss of Jaret Jack and Carl Landry will affect the Warriors… those two have been huge to GS success last season. they are stack at the SF position with Iggy… maybe we can pry away Harrison Barnes with Steve Blake and Meeks…

          • LAL

            I thought we traded away that pick to the Suns when getting Nash? Or was it the second round pick next year?

          • Daryl Peek

            I agree on the big name FA theme.

            Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, Lance Stevenson, Iman Shumpert , Evan Turner, Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown, C.J. Miles, Draymond Green, Al-Farouq Aminu, Thabo Sefolosha, Mirza Teletovic, Tobias Harris, Moe Harkless, Terrence Ross, Greg Smith, Patrick Beverly, Toney Douglas, Kyle Lowery, Kyle Singler, Aaron Brooks, Ramon Sessions, Omri Casspi, Chandler Parsons, Jerryd Bayless, Greg Monroe, Spencer Hawes, Andrew Bogut, Marcin Gortat, ETC… will all be mid to lower end pay scale possibilities over the next two years, just to name a few. lol

          • cj

            i want the lakers to look into sasha before kelly. if i was the gm it would be landry-sasha-odom-kelly. i like kelly but hes not healthy and he can play in the d league and make the team next year.

        • vdogg

          agreed, especially since farmar is far quicker in getting into the paint. blake runs the point effectively, but jordan gets the defense to collapse better. that forces rotations, leaving open shooters — like blake, who is good from deep.

  • Daryl Peek

    This screams of player versatility. those that can play more than one position effectively will get more PT this season. This is why DJO will not make the roster.

    • meep

      i never thought DJO was going to make the team in the first place. since he get little to no min and how late of a sign he was before camp

      • cj

        he was a camp filler. but he has a chance

  • ra

    Doesn’t matter what the name of the position is. See Kobe making shots when he can, from any and all places on the court.

    But does make sense on defense – he doesn’t have to guard the smaller ‘quicker’ (and, more liable to create injury scenarios for Kobe as he’s trying to guard them) players. The larger SF players will be better for Kobe to guard.

    • cj

      and better to guard kobe.

  • LAL918

    Sounds like a good plan to say the least. This means that the team’s even deeper now in recent years.

    • cj

      the lakers last season had a 10/10 starting line up and a 5/10 bench. the lakers starting line up when healthy was the best out there but the bench was one of the worst. this season the starting line up is an 8/10 and the bench is a 7/10. the lakers lowered their ceiling but raised their consistency. the lakers should be better this season if healthy,

  • Zimmeredge

    on offense he might play small forward but on defense it’s a total nonsense to make him play at the 3 spot. is too small and too skinny. he lacks power.
    IMO, D’antoni said that because he knows that we won’t have a regular performer “in between”. We will be good in the paint and behin the arc. But nobody inside.
    Young: irregular.
    Henry: love driving to the basket.
    Johnson: can’t shoot the ball decently at all.
    Harris: too young


    its better if he’ll play the 2 spot but it still depends on the opponent

  • Paytc

    Perhaps Nash feeding it to Kobe can be similar to Stockton to Malone for a couple of years?

    Wherever they put Kobe he will find a way to be more than productive. He will exceed all expectations as he usually does. We know how hard he will work to master his position on the floor.
    I am patiently looking froward to his return !