Kobe Bryant has suffered several major injuries in recent seasons but the biggest pain he’s experiencing now is the sting of criticism. The longtime Lakers superstar has been struggling mightily with his shooting and coach Byron Scott is getting bombarded with questions and critiques regarding what he should do about it.
Bryant is shooting a career worst 31.1% from the field and 19.5% from 3-point range. Just this week, Bryant matched the worst shooting performance of his career by going 1 for 14 from the field against the Warriors. Bryant, as always, remains supremely confident in his ability and says he’s not concerned about his shooting slump.
Scott has held firm that Bryant will come around. Scott indicated this week that he has no plans to cut down on the veteran small forward’s minutes. When asked on Friday if he might bench Bryant for poor play, Scott shot back that he would “never, never, never” do that.
However, there’s a strong argument that removing Bryant from the rotation would help the Lakers in the long run. Bryant won’t be around when lottery picks Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell hit their prime, so having him play such a prominent role — especially at the offensive end — does nothing to facilitate their development and chemistry.
On the flip side, Bryant has given so much to the franchise that it’s hard to shove him to the end of the bench. Bryant doesn’t seem interested in finishing his career somewhere else and his contract is so huge that even if he agreed to a trade, it would be hard to move him. He’s also still a huge fan favorite and a draw. Love him or hate him, people still like to see him play.
This leads us to our question of the day: Should the Lakers reduce Kobe Bryant’s minutes or even bench him?
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