In his 17th NBA season, Kobe Bryant is putting up phenomenal numbers which include 29 PPG on 48% shooting, five rebounds, and five assists a game. But as Leonardo DiCaprio would say in Inception, let’s go deeper.
Many people would assume with Nash being out most of the year, Gasol struggling with knee tendinitis in both knees, and Dwight Howard taking time to get back to his old form that Kobe scoring a lot would be the only way for the Lakers to win. Contrary to popular belief, the stats say the complete opposite.
So far this season, when Kobe scores 19 points or less the Lakers’ win percentage is 1.00. Then, when he scores 20-29 points that win percentage drops to .625. Finally, when Kobe scores 30 points or more, the Lakers’ win percentage takes a drastic drop to .100.
In nine wins this season, Kobe’s stats are 22PPG on 16 shots, 48% from the field, seven assists, six rebounds, three turnovers, and only 35 minutes per game.
In 13 losses this season, Kobe’s stats are 33PPG on 23 shots, 48% from the field, four assists, five rebounds, five turnovers, and 39 minutes per game.
The statistical differences that stand out from losses to wins are: 11 more points on seven more shots, three less assists, two more turnovers, and four more minutes a game.
People that love to hate Kobe will say that the Lakers are 1-10 when he scores 30 or more points in a game, and that makes the loss his fault. However, that couldn’t be more untrue. If Kobe wasn’t scoring 30 or more points in these losses, many of those games would have been blowout for the Lakers.
Many fans will attest that in the majority of these losses, it sometimes looks as if Kobe is the only one truly giving it his all. For most teams, when you have such a sound leader like Kobe, the team will adapt his mentality and focus. Due to some unknown reason, past Lakers teams have not adapted the “Kobe System,” if you will, and that includes this team.
Game-after-game this team as a whole comes out with no energy, no killer instinct, and they simply look lethargic. We are not the only ones that see this, so does Kobe. When Kobe realizes what kind of night the team is in for, he tends to put the team on his shoulders. For someone who has played over 52,000 minutes in a 17 year NBA career that is not ideal, especially on what seems to be a nightly basis.
A more realistic stat for people to look at is when Dwight Howard takes less than ten shots, the Lakers are 1-8. However, when Howard takes more than ten shots, the Lakers are 8-4. Howard and company must show more aggression, and start to contribute more offensively.
In order for the Lakers to find success, Kobe’s point and shot total will have to drop, and his teammates will have to contribute much more. If they do that, the world will finally see what everyone expected from this team. A balanced offense that has many weapons for teams to prepare for. If they entire team does not start to contribute more, Kobe will be forced to get even closer to Kareem’s scoring record, and in the process the Lakers will be victims of another early playoff exit, and possibly even run Dwight Howard out of town.
As weird as it may sound, Lakers fans everywhere should be praying for Kobe’s numbers to go down because that will ensue a successful season.