What Is Kobe Bryant’s Proper Role on the LA Lakers Next Year?

With Kobe Bryant pushing for an opening night return, there is no doubt that if he is successful, the Black Mamba will have some leeway in terms of adjusting his role and responsibilities on the court until he is back to 100 percent.

However, with a Los Angeles Lakers franchise that had just suffered one of its most humbling playoff defeats in the past decade, the rabid fans and intense media spotlight in L.A. may not afford Bryant the time he needs to re-integrate himself.

In fact, perhaps Bryant's will and pride won't allow him to take a backseat while his franchise is in shambles, and he is physically able to be on the court to help it.

Ultimately, Bryant will need to shoulder almost as much responsibility as he has always had with the Lakers as long as he is able to be on the court.

While he won't be tasked with scoring as much as fans are accustomed to, Bryant will need to be the facilitator and initiator on offense.

He showed that he was capable of being more than a one-dimensional scorer last season and allowed his passing and his playmaking to buoy the Lakers into the playoffs.

Although Bryant's scoring may drop initially once he returns from injury, expect him to be a meticulous and cerebral passer.

Though some of this facilitating responsibility may be mitigated if Steve Nash can stay healthy and produce like the Lakers expected of him this season, there is no doubt that the Lakers don't have a true offensive threat outside of Bryant and Pau Gasol.

With the Lakers' role players being inconsistent last season and Dwight Howard's half-court post offense showing little improvement over the years, the Lakers will still need Bryant and Gasol to orchestrate the offense.

Bryant's re-integration into the rotation shouldn't be an issue, simply because there isn't a lot of depth and talent at the guard positions.

Even an injur...

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