Kobe misses shootaround, Byron Scott says he looked ‘exhausted’

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Kobe Bryant is doing everything in his power to try to give his miserable Lakers team a chance to compete on a nightly basis.

He’s leading the league in scoring with a 26.6 points per game average, and is also the leader in field goal attempts with an average of 23.1 per contest.

Bryant is also playing 35.9 minutes a night, and all of the physical effort he’s put in thus far is beginning to take its toll — so much so that Byron Scott is having his best player skip game day shootarounds, a trend which may continue for the remainder of the season.

From Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:

“This is all about trying to preserve his body as much as possible and let him get as much rest (as possible),” Scott said. “Because his recovery time is the most important thing right now. We want him to be as strong as he can be for the games.” …

Bryant did not participate in practices or shoot around last week during a three-game homestand, and, at least for now, appears to be on a similar road schedule. …

“I go by what he feels with his body at that particular time,” Scott said. “I saw him yesterday on the plane, he looked exhausted. So when he texted me this morning about staying at the hotel about getting some treatment and getting some ice, he told me he could come to practice. I told him what for? Stay there and get some rest and we’ll see you tonight.”

It’s a smart way to handle things, especially after Scott hasn’t always operated with Bryant’s best interests in mind in the earlier parts of the season.

The Lakers can compete by trying to outscore teams (as they did in a recent win over the Raptors), and Bryant’s presence on the floor is critical to that strategy. Keeping him fresh by forcing him to skip practices is really the only way to help accomplish that.