EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- No matter how much Kobe Bryant struggles during possibly his final season in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers star will not be benched for poor play, coach Byron Scott told ESPN.com on Friday.
Scott said that under no circumstances would he sit the 37-year-old Bryant, who is shooting a career-worst 31.1 percent from the field and 19.5 percent from 3-point range.
"I would never, never, never do that," Scott said after practice at the Lakers' facility. "That's not an option whatsoever. No, that's not an option."
Scott and Bryant were teammates during Bryant's rookie season. Bryant is now in his 20th NBA season, all of which he has spent with the Lakers.
Bryant is averaging more field goal attempts per game (a team-high 16.4) than points (15.2). His field-goal percentage ranks 122nd out of 122 qualified players, and his 3-point percentage ranks last out of 105 qualified players.
ESPN's real plus-minus, which measures a player's impact on team performance per 100 possessions, placed Bryant 379th in the NBA and 73rd for small forwards, the position he has largely played this season. Last season, Bryant ranked 301st in the NBA and 55th among shooting guards, the position he primarily played.
In Tuesday's loss to the Golden State Warriors, Bryant shot 1-of-14, tying the worst shooting performance of his career in which he attempted at least five shots. He also shot 1-of-14 in November 2014, in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Scott has been adamant that he won't lessen Bryant's minutes (30.5 per game, second-highest on the Lakers), nor will he change Bryant's role (Bryant starts).
If you can physically tolerate watching Kobe Bryant play basketball this season, if you can somehow manage to watch despite wincing at all the missed shots and the acid reflux they induce, you'll realize that this bottoming out actually makes things easier for Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
At this rate -- specifically, 15.2 points per game on 31.1 percent shooting from the field and 19.5 percent from three-point range -- Kobe should not feel compelled to come back for another season. More significantly, if he does want to return, the Lakers are now under no obligation to accommodate him.
If Kobe kept dropping 20 points a game and maintained confidence that he could keep imposing his will on the rest of the NBA, he could have put the Lakers in a difficult position. He could have forced the Lakers to either bring him back next season at a salary more in line with his career accomplishments than his current abilities or face the wrath of their fan base as he went off to finish his career in another uniform. Not now, not after the best Kobe could do against the Golden State Warriors was 1-for-14.
Even the most loyal Kobe-ites, the ones with several versions of both the No. 8 and No. 24 Laker jerseys, don't want to see this continue. If Kobe pressed the Lakers and they pushed back, not a single person could blame them.
Kobe's poor play liberates the Lakers. They'll be ready to move on to a new era without Kobe's high salary and high usage rate combining to reduce cap space and congest the offense.
It would have been easier for everyone involved if Kobe had transitioned to a secondary role, the way Tim Duncan
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said he has not considered reducing Kobe Bryant's minutes or role even though Bryant's struggles have continually worsened, hitting rock bottom Tuesday, when, in a 111-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Bryant tied the worst shooting performance of his career in any game in which he attempted at least five shots.
Against the Warriors, Bryant shot 1-of-14 from the field and scored four points. Bryant also shot 1-of-14 in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs last season.
On the season, Bryant is shooting a career-worst 31.1 percent from the field, and he is 2-for-21 from 3-point range in his past four games.
"I haven't thought about reducing his role," Scott said Wednesday at the team's practice facility. "I think his role is pretty defined for us right now. So is his minutes."
Bryant, 37, is struggling mightily in his 20th NBA season, during which he's averaging more shots (a team-high 16.4 field goal attempts per game) than points (15.2). Bryant is second on the team in minutes (30.5) to Jordan Clarkson (30.8).
Scott said he doesn't believe minutes are taking a toll on Bryant, whose past three seasons have all been cut short by injury.
"Maybe it is, but my opinion, watching him, I don't think so," Scott said.
Scott also said he's not counseling Bryant.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The 2-11 Los Angeles Lakers face an incredibly tall task in trying to slow down, much less stop, the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night -- especially with the Warriors looking to improve to 16-0, setting an NBA record for the best start to a season.
But Lakers coach Byron Scott believes the "Showtime" Lakers of the 1980s could beat these Warriors. Of course, Scott played for the Lakers during that era, winning three NBA titles, so perhaps he’s a bit biased.
Even still, he said that in a seven-game series, the "Showtime" Lakers would "absolutely" win.
"It would be interesting," Scott admitted after the team’s morning shoot-around at a local club here in advance of the game in Oakland.
"The one thing I think this [Golden State Warriors] team couldn’t do on a daily basis against us that they’re doing against everybody else is go small. You have Magic [Johnson] and James [Worthy] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] as post-up players that demand a double-team. It would be a whole lot harder [for the Warriors]. [Warriors forward] Draymond [Green] is a great defender and I have a lot of respect for him, but guarding James Worthy? Or guarding Kareem? That wouldn’t happen. It would be interesting. It would be very interesting."
How would the modern-day Lakers fare in a seven-game series against the Warriors?
"I think they would probably win that series right now," Scott said with a smile. "Let’s just say that."
With regards to the matchup, Lakers star Kobe Bryant said this week that he’s seen "stranger things happen."
"He’s right," Scott said. "Stranger things have happened."
Scott was a guard with the Pacers then, and he watched fellow Pacer Reggie Miller score eight points in 8.9 seconds to help the Pacers pull off a historic comeback and win 107-105 at Madison Square Garden after trailing by 6 with 18.7 seconds left.
"So things can happen," Scott said. "All the stars have to be aligned correctly as well. Obviously, we’ve got to play our best game of the season against the best team in the league. It’s obviously not a very easy task."
Scott also said of the Warriors, "It’s easy say [stop them]. I think there are 15 other teams that have tried it, too, and it hasn’t worked. We can go back to the NBA Finals, where they won the last three games as well. Right now, they’re just playing at an unbelievable level and I think their confidence is probably at an all-time high. Everybody says the same thing -- you’ve got to take away their threes and layups and make them a mid-range type shooting team. That’s easy to say."
OAKLAND, Calif. -- A thin line separates confidence and delusion, and Kobe Bryant is straddling it. It's the only conclusion one could reach after judging the Los Angeles Lakers star's comments Tuesday after he tied the worst shooting performance of his career in any game in which he attempted at least five shots.
In a humiliating 111-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, Bryant shot 1-of-14 from the field, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range, and scored four points. He also shot 1-of-14 in a loss last season to the San Antonio Spurs.
Bryant is the first player this season with four or fewer points on 14 or more field goal attempts.
Many of his shots hit the front of the rim. Some 3-point attempts were air-balls. He blew one layup that should have been a dunk -- and probably would have been years ago, before all his injuries. And one shot, perhaps the cruelest of all, became lodged where the rim and backboard meet. An opposing player had to help pry it loose.
The performance was his worst so far this season, yet, frankly, it wasn't too dissimilar from those that preceded it. In his 20th NBA season, the 37-year-old Bryant has looked his age. His body has performed as if it's carrying a ton of NBA mileage and has endured three consecutive season-ending injuries, which it has.
But once again, Bryant said he's fine, that his health is fine, that his shot is fine, and he diverted the conversation elsewhere, largely to his teammates and the team's overall scheme.
"I'm not really worried about it, honestly," Bryant said. "My shooting will be better. I could've scored 80 [Tuesday]. It wouldn't have made a damn difference. We just have bigger problems. I could be out there averaging 35 points a game. We'd be what, 3-11? We've got to figure out how to play systematically in a position that's going to keep us in ball games."
Read the above quote again, or a few times, if necessary. Specifically, re-read the part about scoring 80 points in a game or averaging 35.
Those comments were made by a player who is averaging more field goal attempts per game (a team-high 16.4) than points (15.2); a player who is shooting a career-worst 31.1 percent from the floor; a player who has now had 12 consecutive games scoring fewer than 25 points while shooting worse than 50 percent, the longest such streak of his career.
(For those interested, ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh did the math
OAKLAND, Calif. -- In Tuesday's 111-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tied the worst shooting performance of his career in any game in which he attempted at least five shots.
Bryant shot 1-of-14 from the field, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range. He scored four points in nearly 25 minutes.
Bryant also shot 1-of-14 from the field last November in a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Following Tuesday's loss, the 37-year-old Bryant, who is in his 20th NBA season, said he was fine.
"I'm not really worried about it, honestly," Bryant said. "My shooting will be better. I could've scored 80 tonight. It wouldn't have made a damn difference. We just have bigger problems. I could be out there averaging 35 points a game. We'd be what, 3-11? We've got to figure out how to play systematically in a position that's going to keep us in ballgames."
Bryant is averaging 15.2 points on a team-high 16.4 field goal attempts per game this season. His 31.1 field goal percentage is the lowest figure of his career. Bryant has now played 12 consecutive games scoring fewer than 25 points while shooting worse than 50 percent, the longest such streak of his career.
"In all honesty, it was tough, the shots that I take, pullup shots and jumpers and contested jumpers -- those are tough shots to hit at 27," Bryant said. "It's very tough to hit at 37. I've got to do a better job of demanding some help off the ball, get some easier chances -- pin-downs, picks, catch-and-shoots, things of that nature. Tonight was just very frustrating. It kind of got the better of me."
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The defending champion Golden State Warriors set the record for best start in NBA history at 16-0, as Stephen Curry had 24 points and nine assists in a 111-77 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
With their coach sidelined, the Warriors surpassed the 15-0 starts by the Washington Capitols of 1948-49 and 1993-94 Houston Rockets.
Confetti streamed down when the final buzzer sounded and Golden State's players barely celebrated.
Kobe Bryant shot 1 of 14 for just four points in one of the worst shooting performances of his career. The Lakers dropped to 2-12 with the second-worst record in the NBA.