Joining the Los Angeles Lakers and teaming up with Kobe Bryant means Jeremy Lin isn’t free from the curse of the ball-hogging shooting guard. Maybe things will be different on a new team, but the intended rest Bryant will get from time to time, meaning missing games, should help Lin be a bit more dominant on his new team.
For those cheering from the sidelines as Jeremy Lin managed to escape the clutches of playing next to James Harden, which meant not getting nearly the amount of touches that he should have, Kobe Bryant might not be better. Harden is something of an extension of the same philosophy. A shooting guard who has the ball in his hands for most of the time, and even when he’s actually damaging the team, it doesn’t slow him down nor does it make the head coach have a change of heart about his philosophy.
But Byron Scott isn’t planning on using Kobe Bryant as heavily as he was used in the past. Bryant played just six games last season, coming off an Achilles tendon tear before a fracture in his knee put him out for the season. Maybe the injury wasn’t as serious as it was made out to be by the Lakers and Bryant simply didn’t want to play on a team doing so horribly, but it didn’t matter. The Lakers had to do without him, and did pretty badly.
To get the Lakers into the playoffs in 2013, Bryant played an incredible amount of minutes before finally breaking down in the game against the Warriors. He played more than 47 minutes in three of the six games before his final one in 2013, and played all 48 on the second night of a back-to-back the game prior to suffering the injury. That’s not something we’re going to see this season. It’s more likely that Bryant will get time off – from practice and from games.
Yes, Bryant, the man who doesn’t like losing but also hates to see his team win without him taking the lead of the charge, is going to start sitting out games in order to keep his body from breaking down during the season. That’s at least the plan for Byron Scott, hoping he gets the approval from the person who is actually running things for the Lakers – the player, who by accepting the dumb deal offered to him by the Lakers, has made it impossible for the franchise to substantially improve while he’s still on the team.
What does this mean for Jeremy Lin? In theroy, Lin should be the starting point guard for the Lakers. He’s better than Steve Nash is, not to mention healthier. And yet starting at point guard doesn’t always mean playing point guard due to Bryant’s need for the ball to be in his hands. Obviously, Scott might have a different opinion on the matter. He’s used to coaching ball-dominant point guards, so maybe Lin has a shot of that legacy carrying on.
The Lakers won’t be better without Kobe Bryant, not with the roster they have. However, they will be better off if the ball is handled by the right player most of the time, which means using Jeremy Lin in the role he’s intended to fill, and not something the wise duo of Kevin Mchale and Daryl Morey made up for him.