On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers met for practice sans Kobe Bryant.
No, Bryant did not have another injury. Fatigue was not a factor. Simply, he was so upset about his shambolic start to the season that Lakers coach Byron Scott decided Bryant needed a day off.
"He's frustrated," Scott said when hearing Bryant had cursed his own play in front of cameras on Sunday night. "He expects a whole lot more out of himself than most people. He's very hard on himself."
Bryant has been shooting difficult shots and taking far too many three-pointers that simply have not been falling. The 37-year-old made two of eight from long range on Sunday to bring his average up to 20.7 percent for the season.
"I thought yesterday, he did a much better job of getting to the basket," Scott said about Bryant after Monday's practice. "I'm fine with the shot selection right now."
The coach's comment seemed slightly surprising considering Bryant finished the night shooting 3-15 and now has a 31.4 percent shooting average from the field. While the 20-year veteran has been missing open shots, a large number of those shots have been contested long-range attempts.
Scott explained why he decided to give Bryant the day off, "I know how frustrated he was last night, so I told him...'I just want to see you Tuesday morning.'"
Scott went on,"I know he's frustrated, and I want him to just take a day off, get away from it for a little bit and then come back ready tomorrow."
Most players do not get a day off for being upset. Then again, Bryant and Scott have a special relationship that is often reminiscent of a father coaching his son. Simply put, Bryant gets special treatment--not to say he has not earned it.
However, in year 20, Bryant plays by different rules. If fully healthy, Scott told reporters that he hoped Bryant would appear in 60-something games out of the 82-game schedule. In other words, the 37-year-old should have more off days because, well, he'll need them to last a strenuous six-month NBA schedule. The parameters under which Bryant would take game night off had yet to be determined, but each passing day hints that the 2015-16 season will likely be Bryant's final season.
Notes: Rookie Larry Nance Jr. suffered a broken nose during practice and went to see a specialist. Brandon Bass also expected to visit a specialist for a corneal abrasion the power forward suffered late in Sunday's game.