Here we go. The common misconception that Kobe Bryant is a ball hog is spreading all over the media once again. We’ve all seen the stat by now all over social networks or sports channels. The Lakers are now 1-10 when Kobe scores over 30 points. I usually hate numbers because they are completely misleading especially in the NBA, but I absolutely despise this number.
Despite the Lakers’ recent struggles, Kobe Bryant is having one of the most efficient regular seasons of his entire 17 year career. He’s currently averaging career highs in shooting percentages from both the three-point line and the field. He’s also averaging 4.8 assists per game, which matches his career total.
With all of this said, people are still finding ways to pin the Laker losses on Kobe’s shot attempts. If an NBA team comes out of the gate strong and builds a huge lead against their opponents, the superstars usually rest, play less minutes, and subsequently take less shot attempts. When that scenario is reversed, the superstars usually play harder, play more minutes, and subsequently take more shot attempts. Isn’t this pretty obvious?
I don’t know which Laker games these Kobe critics have been watching, but I’ve watched them struggle game after game from the very moment of the tip off. Guys are having trouble finding their roles on offense, there is confusion on defense, and the total missed free throws are an absolute disaster. All of these factors lead to the Lakers trying to climb out of a deep hole. On a team that only has Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard currently displaying any real talent, who else would you want shooting the ball when it’s come back time?
The Lakers’ record is obviously better when Kobe scores less than 30 because the situation of those particular games do not require Kobe Bryant to shoot the basketball any more than he has to. On November 4, the Lakers defeated the Pistons 108 to 79 and Kobe only had 15 points. This is because the Lakers jumped out to a huge 34 to 13 lead in the first quarter. This gave Kobe the ability to rest, play less minutes, and subsequently take less shot attempts.
On December 7, the Lakers lost to the OKC Thunder 114 to 108 after being blown out in the first half. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led OKC to a 41 to 26 point second quarter, which dug a hole seemingly to deep for the Lakers to climb out of. Because of this, Kobe was forced to play harder, play more minutes, and subsequently take more shot attempts. In this game (like many other Laker losses this season) Kobe’s efficient shooting helped them climb back and actually make OKC work for the victory by the end of the game.
Yes, there have been times in Kobe’s career when he may take a few bad shots and ultimately shoot the Lakers out of a game, but that is not what is happening this season. The only other reliable offensive option on the Lakers right now is Dwight Howard and his free throw shooting is probably the biggest reason for most of the Laker losses this season. When a player is fouled, it is not counted as a shot attempt. Dwight Howard is currently leading the entire league in free throw attempts and also has the worst free throw percentage. His total amount of free throws show that the number 2 option on this offense is getting just as many touches as Kobe Bryant, if not more.
This ridiculous 1-10 stat is another attempt to disregard the amazing play of Kobe Bryant. A 34 year old is effortlessly leading the NBA in scoring and people are still finding things to say. Kobe Bryant is an absolute assassin who is never afraid to shoot the ball in any situation. This is why he is who he is.
For the Lakers sake, I hope that Kobe continues to shoot the ball the way he currently is. If all of the other many problems they are currently facing are fixed and combined with the efficient scoring of Kobe Bryant, we may finally be able to watch the Laker team that we hoped to see this season.