It didn’t take long after news of Kobe Bryant’s Achilles tear before critics started ripping Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni for Bryant’s heavy minutes this month.
The Lakers have been a dysfunctional mess all season. They’ve needed every one of Bryant’s minutes just to position themselves for the eighth seed in the West with two games left.
Obviously Bryant was playing too much, but the Lakers had no other choice. Bryant played more than 41 minutes in each of the past seven games. Not surprisingly, the Lakers went 6-1. Playing him five or six minutes less might or might not have prevented his Achilles injury, but it absolutely would’ve prevented the Lakers from making the playoffs.
The Lakers are old and built to win now. They had no choice but to play Bryant heavy minutes just to have a chance. D’Antoni’s use of Amar’e Stoudemire in Phoenix has no bearing on this situation. Blaming him now for Bryant’s injury is ignorant and simply the benefit of hindsight.