The Lakers are going to be a mess of overlapping ball-dominant guards next season, and coach Byron Scott is scrambling for ways to even out what could be an unbalanced rotation. One of Scott's bright ideas could be to deploy Kobe Bryant out of position at times.
In an interview with David Aldridge of NBA.com, Scott talked about his vision of utilizing the Black Mamba at a variety of different spots on the court in 2015-16.
"Kobe can play 1, 2 and 3. There's no doubt in my mind. And there's some games, against some teams, where he'll probably play 4. 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."
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Bryant has always been a natural 2-guard, but shifting him over to regular minutes at the small forward position isn't really all that surprising on Scott's part. Of playing the 3, the 17-time All-Star even confidently told trainer Gary Vitti, "I can do that," according to a Sunday report by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. But the revelation that Scott wants Bryant to play the power forward position on occasion is sure to induce turned heads and quizzical glances.
Looking past the initial shock value of Scott's proclamation, the move would make sense as a situational tactic. The league is going increasingly small, and superstar wing players have often shifted to the post as they've aged in order to preserve their bodies. One example is Michael Jordan, who saw work at the 4 as a Washington Wizard. Another one is LeBron James, who, though famously sour on playing the position for Erik Spoelstra during his Miami tenure, is essentially a power forward at this point of his career in David Blatt's offense.
Bryant's back-to-the-basket game has always been strong with his pristine footwork, fadeaways and fundamentals giving him the necessary tools to survive and even thrive in the post.
The 36-year-old Bryant is certainly no stranger to being asked to step out of his comfort zone. The ousted Mike D'Antoni used to regularly assign him point guard duties from 2012 to 2014. Plus, Basketball Reference even says that Bryant has prior experience at the 4, estimating that one percent of his total minutes came at power forward in 2012-13. That may have been the result of Mike Brown's Princeton offense experiment.
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