Monday, January 12, 2015

Lakers will consider shutting down Kobe Bryant after All-Star break

Bryant sat out Sunday for the sixth time in 11 games and Byron Scott says he wants to make sure the team's star is healthy for next year.

While there are no plans to do so right now, Lakers head coach Byron Scott acknowledged Sunday that the team may consider sitting Kobe Bryant down at some point later on in the season.

"I haven't thought about that yet," Scott said, via ESPN Los Angeles, when asked if the topic had been broached by the organization. "I keep thinking about game-to-game right now. So I haven't gotten to that point. Maybe after the All-Star break, maybe we will start talking about something like that if necessary."
Bryant sat out Sunday for the sixth time in 11 games and Byron Scott says he wants to make sure the team's star is...

Scott was asked the question following the Lakers' 106-94 home loss to Portland, a game in which Bryant did not play. It was the second straight contest Bryant missed and sixth in the last 11 games. Scott said before Sunday's game that he made the decision to have Bryant sit out.

Bryant, 36, is playing an average of 35 minutes per game this season after missing all but six games last year with a torn Achilles tendon and a fracture in his left knee.

Bryant played in the Lakers' first 27 games this year, and was averaging more than 35 minutes per game before sitting out the team's Dec. 23 contest against the Warriors. He has since sat out five of the Lakers' last 10 games. In the five games he has played, Bryant has averaged less than 32 minutes.

His shot attempts have also dropped during this stretch from 22 per game to 12.2, according to ESPN Los Angeles. Bryant is averaging 23 points per game this season, but is shooting a career low 38 percent from the field.

Scott said he and Bryant had different views on Bryant's minutes load when the season began. Bryant suggested 32 minutes per game as a good number to target, but Scott felt Bryant could make it through all 82 games while playing close to the near-37 per game he always has. Scott now admits that he was wrong to think so.

Scott said he now wants to ensure Bryant is healthy next year. Bryant's current contract with the Lakers ends after the 2015-16 season.

The Lakers are currently 12-26. Their next game is Tuesday night at home against the Miami Heat.