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