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Last season, Kobe Bryant averaged almost 39 minutes per game (38:47 to be exact), and ranked 7th in the NBA in minutes per game.

Phil Jackson has definitely put an emphasis on playing his bench more, and resting his starters this season.

According to Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell, this season will be the fewest Kobe has played since 1997-98.

Bryant is playing only 33:53, by far his fewest minutes since his second NBA campaign back in 1997-98 (26:00). He’s not even in the top 50 in the league, yet still ranks sixth in scoring (25.1 points per game).

Phil Jackson acknowledged prior to the team’s Friday evening game in Portland that this is no accident, as the season splits suggest.

Bryant ranks first in points per 48 minutes at 35.6.

In the last three games in particular, Phil Jackson has decided to rest his stars. Bryant, has averaged 32.6 minutes per game, Gasol 30.6, and Fisher 29.3.