Things will look drastically different next season for the Lakers. Not only did Phil Jackson ride off into the sunset, but he took his triangle offense with him as well, which means the team will have a new offensive scheme next season under new coach Mike Brown.
This has fans wondering not only how the team will fare running a new offense, but also how the new scheme will impact Kobe’s overall game.
Here are five ways Kobe can adapt his game to the team’s new offense.
Every opposing head coach in the NBA knows Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers’ best player, and on most nights the team will make a consistent effort of feeding Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the paint.
But for one of the few times in Bryant’s career, he will not be helping the Lakers run the triangle offense. Therefore, Bryant may have a little more “leeway” as far as keeping opposing defenses guessing what he is going to do next, whether it’s serving as a facilitator or attempting to exert himself more aggressively on offense.
Last season, Kobe Bryant attempted more three-pointers than he had since the 2007-08 season. Even more alarming, Kobe had his lowest three-point percentage since the 2001-02 season.
With the advantage the Lakers have in the frontcourt, Bryant—or any member of the Lakers, for that matter—doesn't need to shoot so many three-pointers in Mike Brown’s new offense.
The possibility of Kobe Bryant’s production on the court declining due to his increasing age has been a popular topic of discussion lately.
While his overall production is an argument for a different day, there is no arguing Kobe’s increase in age. Hopefully, the team will land a decent backup for Bryant when the lockout ends. This would not only provide more rest for Bryant on a nightly basis but would also provide the team with some much-needed stability for its second unit.
Yes, I know what you are thinking: The thought of Kobe Bryant sitting out a game every now and then is an unsettling one. Not to mention him sitting out could potentially cost the Lakers gaining home-court advantage in the playoffs.
However, not only would Kobe sitting out from time to time save him precious energy for the playoffs, it would also give the other team members an opportunity to master the new offense without having to rely on Kobe as their “crutch.”
Since Pau Gasol joined the team in 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest strength has been their three-headed frontcourt monster of Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, despite Kobe Bryant being the team’s best overall player.
While Bryant making sure Gasol and Bynum get their fair share of touches wouldn’t necessarily be an adaptation, considering it’s what he has been doing the last three-and-a-half seasons, Bryant needs to make sure he continues to do so.
The Lakers are not only going to be running a new offense next season, but the team will also feel more pressure to win more than it has in previous seasons. However, this doesn’t mean Kobe needs to use a heavy hand in exerting himself in the new offense.
Feed the bigs, and everything will be OK. Don’t, and it could be a long season trying to find continuity in Brown’s new offense.