Western Notes: Bryant, Garrett, Craft, Smith

Kobe Bryant needs to take a step back and allow some of his teammates to take charge of the Lakers, opines Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Coach Byron Scott agrees. “I’ve talked to a couple individuals about just being a little bit more assertive, not relying on Kobe as much,” Scott said. “You guys can ask Kobe this. I think he wants to get those guys to step up. He really does. Take shots when they have them. Not defer to him as much.” Earlier this week in a loss to the Suns, Bryant took 37 shots, while the rest of the team’s starters combined to take only 35.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Diante Garrett will be returning to the Iowa Energy, who are the D-League affiliates of the Grizzlies, the team announced. The Blazers recently waived the Iowa State product after spending just a month on their roster.
  • Aaron Craft is mulling a contract offer from Partizan Belgrade of the Serbian League, Orazio Cauchi of Sportando reports. Craft spent training camp with the Warriors and was set to play for Golden State’s D-League affiliate this season. Though the amount of Partizan Belgrade’s offer to Craft has not been reported, it’s likely for more than the guard would have earned playing in Santa Cruz this season, though that is just my speculation.
  • Ish Smith is excited to be the newest member of the Thunder because of his relationship with his new teammates, writes Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman. “I’m really good friends with a lot of guys, played against them. Russ (Russell Westbrook), (Kevin Durant), Lance (Thomas), all in the ’06 class, so I know a lot of them,” Smith said.
  • Canada is producing basketball prospects at unheard of rates, writes Dave Skretta of the Associated Press.  Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett of the Wolves are the past two No. 1 overall NBA draft picks and are each of Canadian descent. Many, including Bennett, have attributed their interest in basketball to watching Vince Carter when he was on the Raptors. “That’s when we seen him doing all these types of dunks,” Bennett said of watching Carter. “We just had a love for his game.”

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

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