In an exclusive interview with Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant discussed various topics such as retirement, rehabilitation, playoff aspirations and life away from the game of basketball.
When asked his thoughts on the current state of the franchise he’s played his entire soon-to-be 20-year career with, Bryant had this to say:
“They have really set themselves up for a promising future going on years. I think they drafted very well. The free agents that we picked are extremely solid, [Roy] Hibbert, [Brandon] Bass, Lou [Williams]. We have a very good mix of young and veteran leadership. The challenge is going to be blending the two and cutting down the learning curve.
“How quickly can we get going? How quickly can we bring up [rookie D’Angelo] Russell, [Julius] Randle. [Jordan] Clarkson got valuable experience last year in playing that will benefit us tremendously. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to running with these young guns.”
With Bryant sliding over to the three, this presumably means Russell and Clarkson will start at the guard spots, while Randle is at the four. “Running with the young guns” is what the Lakers should look to execute early and often on a nightly basis, considering those four can all get the ball and lead the break.
Speaking of Bryant playing small forward — a hot topic surrounding the Lakers this summer — Spears asked him about that as well, and a received a classic Kobe response:
“I don’t see what the big deal is about it, honestly. What does that even mean anyway? Everyone plays [expletive] small ball anyway.”
He brings up an excellent point: based on how the game is played nowadays, with floor spacing bearing a greater emphasis than in years past. On a lot of nights, Bryant being at the three will provide minimal (if any) differences than playing shooting guard. Of course, there will be nights where he’s forced to match up against guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but those types of players will put up numbers, regardless of who is standing in front of them.
These are just a few of the many topics discussed in what was a fantastic interview from Spears. You can catch the entire transcript of the interview here.