It's been a while but the original NBA writer for this site (ME) is back. I was very angered by the last post regarding a man some call Kobe "Bean" Bryant so I decided to instill some knowledge on you people.
Last night, the Black Mamba went off for 48 points in a win against the Suns. He shot 18-31 (58%) from the field, had 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Let's break down the stats. Kobe is a career 45.5% shooter. This season he's shooting 46%. He scores, on average, 25 points per game- as he did during an "off year" a season ago. This season he's scoring 29 PPG. Last night, he did take a ton of shots- but he also made more than half of them. In fact, Kobe is the fifth most efficient player in the NBA right now- trailing LeBron James, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin (making him the most efficient at his position). According to NBA.com "NBA.com evaluates all players based on the efficiency formula: ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers))." Through this formula, we can see that Kobe was a +43 in efficiency rating last night- the most of any player in the NBA.
The reason Kobe Bryant has been taking so many shots on a nightly basis this year is a result of the system. Mike Brown's offensive system allows Kobe to take guys one on one more often (remember how LeBron James played under the same system during his years with Cleveland?). We have been used to seeing the Lakers play in the triangle offense. The goal of the triangle offense is to create good spacing between players in order to open up passing lanes between them. It is a much more team oriented offense than that used by Mike Brown this season. This year's offense is much more fast-paced and is not as "team-flow focused". For example, if Kobe went one-on-one while in the triangle offense, it would mess up the flow of the team that possession. In Mike Brown's system, Kobe can go one-on-one without having a disrupted offense on the floor.
Let's give Kobe a break. He's 33 years old and has a ton of milage on his legs. He's coming off an injury-plagued, disappointing season and a disastrous off season where his team lost two of their best bench players in Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. Just look at the roster this year. Since when was Jason Kapono- a great shooter..but that's pretty much it- a guy who didn't even play every game for the Sixers last year, good enough to be Kobe Bryant's back up? Let's be honest, the only two legitimate scoring threats the Lakers have besides Kobe are Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (who sat out the first 4 games). The fact that Kobe Bryant is playing so efficiently (with a torn ligament in his shooting wrist) and leading his team to a 7-4 record with a not so impressive bench is amazing. So for those who believe he's not having a good season (you know who you are and yes this is a call out), I suggest you think again.
...and oh yeah, he can still do this.