Byron Scott: Kobe Bryant will see time at power forward
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott commented about his team's emphasis on versatility this summer, and mentioned that the 36-year-old Bryant, fresh off an Achilles injury, might see time at the four, reports NBA.com's David Aldridge.
I think that's the beauty of it. The one thing that we wanted to do and accomplish through this draft and through free agency was to try and be a little more versatile, have some versatility. So I think all three of those guys can definitely do that.
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.
Playing Bryant against fellow wings masquerading as power forwards is fine. If the Milwaukee Bucks play Khris Middleton or Jabari Parker at the four, matching up with Bryant makes some sense. If the Toronto Raptors go small with DeMarre Carroll, the Lakers can again match.
However, the Western Conference features a murderers' row of actual, full-sized power forwards. Bryant is physical, strong, smart, and agile, but he can't consistently line up opposite players like Zach Randolph, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Blake Griffin.
Playing Bryant at small forward makes sense. He's largely playing the same role of shooting guard, but it allows for the Lakers' prospects Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and D'Angelo Russell to play their preferred positions. It's the best of both worlds.
Instead, playing Bryant at power forward subtracts from Randle's playing time, while putting more wear and tear on Bryant's rapidly deteriorating body. And if that happens, expect Scott to feel Bryant's wrath, something Phil Jackson understands all too well.