Byron Scott is mapping out Kobe Bryant’s season before it begins.
Just how long will Kobe have in each game to score those 23-24 points?
Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said Wednesday that he and his star have, in fact, reached an agreement on the matter, but Scott declined to reveal the exact figure.
“His number was lower than mine,” Scott said after Lakers practice. “That surprised me. It helped me as well.”
Scott shared no specifics beyond saying the figure would be between 30 and 40 minutes per game.
At first glance, between 30 and 40 minutes per game seems to reveal nothing. Until Kobe’s injury-riddle campaign last season, in which he saw 29.5 minutes per game, he’d played between 30 and 40 minutes per game six straight seasons.
But Kobe playing 30 minutes per game would be an unprecedented accomplishment.
Nobody so old has ever missed so many games and then played 30 minutes per game the following season. The 36-year-old Kobe, who played just six games last season, will try to become the first.
Of players Kobe’s age, only one has missed a majority of his team’s games and then played at least 30 minutes per game the following season. Patrick Ewing played just 26 games in 1997-78 and then saw 34.2 minutes per game the following season.
In 2009-10, Raja Bell played just six games and then played 30.8 minutes per game at age 34. In 1988-89, Larry Bird played just six games and then played 39.3 minutes per game at age 33. But neither was as old as Kobe.
To be fair, there isn’t much precedent for players with Kobe’s age and injury history even trying to fill a large role. Then again, there’s a reason for that.