Lakers coach Byron Scott knew the question was coming. He smiled. And for what has seemed to be the millionth time since training camp started, Scott offered the same answer?
Can you say how many minutes Kobe Bryant will play in the 2015-16 season?
“Nope,” Scott said, chuckling. “It’s less than last year.”
Bryant averaged 34.5 minutes per game last season through 35 contests before suffering a season-ending right shoulder injury. Scott became self critical of himself both before and after Bryant’s injury, saying that he overestimated Bryant’s ability to overcome a left Achilles and left knee injury that kept him out in the 2013-14 season for all but six games.
Scott appears unlikely to make any grand announcement on how he will limit Bryant’s playing time in hopes to keep him healthy for his 20th and perhaps final NBA season. Bryant has missed the past three exhibition games because of a bruise in his lower left leg. But after phasing Bryant back into practice in the past week, Scott plans to start Bryant without restrictions in the Lakers’ season opener against Minnesota on Wednesday at Staples Center.
“Tonight might give you a pretty good indication,” Scott said, smiling.
But why the vagueness regarding Bryant’s workload? Why not just reveal it?
“I could,” Scott said, “but what’s the fun in that?”
Scott eventually announced D’Angelo Russell would start at point guard after taking a hot yoga session on Wednesday morning. Would another one prompt Scott to provide more clarity on Bryant?
“I don’t have another until next week,” Scott said, laughing.