Lakers Coach Byron Scott says struggling Kobe Bryant can still play in NBA

Kobe Bryant prepares to shoot against Dallas during a game Nov. 1.

Kobe Bryant prepares to shoot against Dallas during a game Nov. 1.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

It has been a mighty struggle so far this season for Kobe Bryant, resulting in Lakers Coach Byron Scott having to answer numerous questions from reporters about his star after practice Wednesday.

It was Bryant’s woeful one-for-14 shooting performance in the Lakers’ 111-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night that led to Scott being quizzed 11 times about Bryant.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way.”

Bryant is averaging a team-high 15.2 points and playing 30.5 minutes a game, second-most on the team behind Jordan Clarkson (30.8).


But the 37-year-old Bryant is shooting only 31.1% from the field and 19.5% from three-point range.

He’s taking a team-high 16.4 shots per game, and obviously even worse for the 20-year veteran, he’s taking too many three-pointers, at seven per game.

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Scott was asked if he would reduce Bryant’s playing time.

“I have not considered that yet,” Scott said. “It’s too early in the season.”

Scott said Bryant has been able to get enough rest. On Wednesday his star didn’t practice — and on Thanksgiving the entire team will be off.

Scott also disagreed with the idea that Bryant’s minutes were taking a toll on his play.


“In my opinion, in watching him, I don’t think so,” Scott said.

“I’m letting him try to find it for himself. He’s been doing this for a long time. I’m not so much worried about Kobe. I am concerned about his shooting percentage and his shots so far. But as far as knowing him the way I know him and how long he’s played in this league, I’m not worried about him finding it.”

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter: @BA_Turner.



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