Kobe Bryant is shooting a career-low 33.1% from the field but Lakers coach Byron Scott wants him to stay aggressive offensively, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com. Bryant’s desire to score off isolation plays may be hindering the team’s ball movement but Scott doesn’t plan on telling the aging small forward to stop looking for his shot, Holmes continues. “He’s had 20 years of experience in the league,” Scott told the team’s beat reporters. “We might not have six players that have 20 years in this league combined. He has that privilege, basically. From a coaching standpoint, I want Kobe to be Kobe. Other guys haven’t earned that right yet.”
In other news around the Western Conference:
- Former first-round pick Jordan Hamilton, who finished last season with the Clippers, has left the Russian club Krasny Oktyabr, aka Volgograd, tweets international journalist David Pick. JaJuan Johnson, another former NBA first-rounder who hasn’t played in the league since 2012, also left the team, Pick adds.
- The struggling Rockets have slowed down offensively and interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants to increase the tempo, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Houston was second in pace last season but has slipped to eighth this season. Some of that is due to defensive breakdowns but Bickerstaff also wants to utilize his team’s quickness to a greater extent, especially in the first half, Feigen adds. “That’s one of the things we’re focused on now,” Bickerstaff told the Houston media. “We want to be speedy. We want teams that come in here in the first five minutes of the game … to be overwhelmed by our speed. We have the athletes. We have the skilled players who can get up and down and do those things.”
- Nuggets first-year coach Michael Malone is generally pleased with his team through the first 14 games, as he relayed to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post on Monday afternoon. “We lost eight games, but, c’mon, two of those to Golden State,” Malone said. “We lost to OKC when they were healthy. Phoenix twice, [which] is a good basketball team; at San Antonio. We’ve had some tough games, and hopefully as long as we keep on staying together, learning from the losses and growing, we’re going to be OK.”