STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — After adding two high-profile guards to their roster in the offseason, the Lakers will start to give Kobe Bryant significant minutes at small forward this season, Lakers head coach Byron Scott said Friday.
Bryant, who has mostly played shooting guard throughout his 19-year NBA career is embracing the change, Scott said.
“Kobe can adapt to any situation,” Scott said. “He just wants to be on the floor and wants to win.”
It’s all part of the team’s rebuilding effort as the Lakers add depth at the guard positions and groom Bryant’s successors. Last month, the team drafted point guard D’Angelo Russell with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Earlier this month, the team signed last season’s Sixth Man Of The Year, shooting guard Lou Williams.
Scott hopes the pickups will help to lead the team back from a dismal 21-61 showing in his first year as head coach. But it will be a tough road.
“The fans have to understand it’s still a process. It’s a journey we’re taking,” Scott told CBS2/KCAL9’s Lisa Sigell as part of an interview to discuss his new basketball camp. “We’re heading in the right direction.”
Scott said he’s encouraged by strong showings in summer league play from Russell, who was named the best collegiate shooting guard in the country in his first and only year at Ohio State. Still, Russell, who is only 19, will need time to develop, Scott said.
“In our summer league he had his ups and downs, which is to be expected. I have a lot of hope for him to play as well as I know he can play,” he said. “Fans have to understand he’s still a teenager and playing against all these men each and every night. He’s going to be an excellent basketball player.”
In fact, Russell is just a couple years too old to participate in Scott’s first annual youth basketball camp.
Scott will be coaching kids ages 8-17 from August 10-14 at Fullerton College. Lakers players Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle will also make appearances to give motivational talks to the campers.
“It’s about going and having fun, and learning teamwork and how play with one another,” Scott said. “At the end of the day it’s all about learning how to play the game.”