Kobe Bryant, having started the Los Angeles Lakers' opening 27 games of the 2014-15 NBA season, has been absent from six of the team's last 11 outings.
Fatigue, and wariness concerning Bryant's injury history, have contributed to Lakers head coach Byron Scott reducing his star man's involvement since December 21st and now Scott himself has admitted making a mistake regarding Kobe's minutes early on in the season.
Admitting his mistake
Speaking to the media prior to the Lakers' 106-94 defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday (a game Kobe Bryant was not a part of) the coach held his hands up about the error that has left Bryant struggling with tiredness.
"I thought his workload was too much," Scott revealed when quizzed on the reduced usage of Bryant.
"He had a number (at the start of the season) and my number was higher. His number was right when I look back at it."
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Prior to the start of the season Kobe himself admitted around the 32 minute mark would probably be his max this season in terms of game minutes. Scott however was keen to push Kobe to his career average of around 36 minutes, while hoping his key man would feature in all 82 games.
Change of tactics
With the Lakers struggling for momentum and Kobe struggling to make practice in between games due to exhaustion a change of tactics was employed in the run up to Christmas and Scott feels there has been a notable impact, both for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers overall.
"I cut those numbers down and ever since then his efficiency has been so much better as far as the way he's been playing and how he's able to play."
"At the beginning, us getting on the same page and me getting to know him and what he could take and what he could stand from a minutes standpoint on a night to night basis was something I had to get used to. We both got a real good feel now and we just have to go from this point on. He has proven he has a lot left in the tank."
In the games that Kobe has played since the switch up he has averaged 31.4 minutes while his game has also changed. Having averaged an astounding 22 shots per game pre-December, Bryant is now shooting around 12 times per 48-minutes.
Whether Kobe will sit out games for the remainder of the season remains to be seen but his mid-campaign break has certainly helped reinvigorate the 16-time All-Star.
As for the team themselves Scott has failed to find a consistent winning formula with or without Kobe. The team is currently 12-26 having lost three of their last four outings.