Kobe Bryant Is Shooting The Lakers Into A Top-5 Pick

You could argue that Kobe Bryant is having the most inefficient scoring season in NBA history. 

The ugly facts:

  • He’s taking 22 shots per game and making 37.2% of them. Since 1962, only eight players have taken 20 shots per game and shot less than 40%.
  • In the shot clock era, Kobe has the lowest field goal percentage for a player taking at least 20 shots per game in season.
  • He’s one of 11 players to ever take five three-pointers per game and make less than 30% of them in a season.
  • The Lakers get outscored by 13.3 points per 100 possessions when Kobe is on the court — the 2nd-worst net rating on the team.
  • He has missed more shots (380) than all but 22 other NBA players have taken.

He’s scoring 24.6 points per game (fourth in the NBA), but he’s doing it in a historically inefficient way.

We love Kobe. But this year the things hardcore NBA fans have always criticised him for — shooting too much, running too much isolation, taking low-percentage shots — have far outweighed the things he does well.

On Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings he shot 8-for-30 and turned it over nine times.

Without a star player he trusts, Kobe has taken it upon himself to be the team’s entire offence, and it has backfired. No one taking this many shots has ever shot this badly.

The silver lining here is that the Lakers have a strong incentive to be bad. If L.A. doesn’t finish with a top-five draft pick, their first-round pick goes to the Phoenix Suns. The difference between being the fifth-worst team in the league and the 10th-worst team in the league is massive. It’s the difference between getting one of the best players in the draft and getting no one. As SB Nation’s Tom Ziller noted, the Lakers might be content to let Kobe shoot them into a top-five pick.

The Lakers have the sixth-worst record in the league right now. 

Kobe has one-year left on his contract at age 36. The post-Kobe era is fast approaching, and next summer’s draft could become a crucial first step in moving on from one of the best players ever.

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