LA Lakers rumors indicate that Kobe Bryant will have a hard minutes cap during the 2015-16 NBA season. The Lakers want to keep Bryant healthy for a possible postseason run, and that could require the coaches to limit his playing time. A report from ESPN.com gives some insight into what the team may be thinking, with coach Byron Scott stating that the team has to stick to a plan. That includes agreeing to a certain amount of time on the court each game and sticking to it.
“We’ve got to stick to the guns. If we agree on a certain amount of time we’re going to stick to it. I know Kobe’s a competitor and he’s going to play as many minutes as you want him to play. I’m also a competitor, so I want to win and I know having him on the court gives me the best opportunity to win.”
During the 2014-15 NBA season, Kobe Bryant averaged 34.5 minutes a night, four times playing more than 40 minutes before getting hurt. The team didn’t benefit enough in those games where he played heavy minutes to consider it a workable strategy next season.
The main question about these LA Lakers rumors, though, is whether Bryant will buy into the plan or insist on being on the court for every important moment of each game. The exact number of minutes he will play has not yet been revealed.
The Lakers did a lot to improve the overall roster for the upcoming season, possibly indicating there will be more opportunities for Bryant to rest during games. Rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell, a healthy Julius Randle, and recently acquired Roy Hibbert should help take some of the pressure off Bryant. The team also has Lou Williams and Larry Nance Jr. coming off the bench to provide some additional offense. Jordan Clarkson also looks to take a step forward in his second NBA offseason, possibly giving the team one of the best second units in the league.
If Bryant can truly take a step back and be a great team player this season, the Lakers might be very dangerous in the Western Conference. A lot of eyes will be on the team when the preseason games begin, especially to see how the new roster plays together. With a great group of role players, coach Byron Scott should have a much easier job than he did during the 2014-15 NBA season, as well. Looking good in the preseason could lead to many LA Lakers rumors about the team finally making it back to the NBA Playoffs.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]