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Kobe Bryant again says he must defer to young players, preaches ball movement

LOS ANGELES -- On multiple occasions before and during this season, Kobe Bryant has said how his role now is to defer to the Los Angeles Lakers' promising young players to help develop them. That is, he says he believes he needs to be more of a teacher than a scorer.

That said, Bryant is still leading the Lakers in field goal attempts at 16 per game, which is considerably ahead of Jordan Clarkson (12.9) and D'Angelo Russell (10.3).

"I'm just trying to help these young guys, honestly," Bryant said Friday after the Lakers' 102-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors, during which he scored 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting during a season- and game-high 37 minutes.

"I feel good enough that I could go out there and score 25 or something like that, but what the hell is that going to do for these guys? It's not going to do a damn thing."

Bryant later added, "I know what I can do. I can do a lot more. I think the most important thing right now is understand how collectively we play.

"If I go off on [scoring] tangents individually, this whole thing is going to collapse more than it is, because you're seeing signs of improvement throughout the course of the game, but I can't go off on my own. I have to make sure I continue to teach, continue to talk to these guys and try to pull them along."

One element Bryant particularly preached Friday was ball movement, which he felt was lacking against the Raptors.

"When I've become the voice of 'ball-movement reason,' you know you have an issue," Bryant said. "I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be the one preaching that stuff. That's crazy.

He added, "I can't believe I'm saying this s---. Are you kidding me? Like a kid that grows up and just starts sounding like his parents."