What Offensive System Should Lakers Use in Kobe’s Twilight Years?

Los Angeles Lakers fans are hoping to see Kobe Bryant back in uniform for the start of next season after an agonizingly long layoff. No one knows how two major injuries—a ruptured Achilles tendon and a fractured knee—might affect his style of play.

We do know, however, that Bryant has certain old-school preferences.

In an ESPN LA article by Dave McMenamin in January, the veteran shooting guard bemoaned the fast-paced finesse game that’s now in vogue, admitting that Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is at least partially responsible for the league-wide shift:

"It's more small ball which, personally, I don't really care much for. I like kind of smash-mouth, old-school basketball because that's what I grew up watching.”

During his recent end-of-season exit interview, D’Antoni himself spoke about the evolution of the game, per Lakers.com:

I do think the game is changing and it has changed. Some of the hard part of coaching is trying to drag people over to the next side. People are comfortable with doing business a certain way… It doesn’t mean there’s no place for a post-up player or the mid-range game. It’s just not what is dominant today and will be.

While D’Antoni’s future with the team is less than certain, his comments seemed to find resonance with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, also per Lakers.com:

I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s changed. The rules today promote that style of play… The idea of a two-point shot doesn’t even come up in a conversation with some coaches. That’s just the way it is today. Will it be that way 10-15 years from now? I don’t know. It is entertaining, it’s fun to watch and players love to play that way. I think it’s here to stay.

There’s no lack of variables heading into the summer. A roster needs to be buil...

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