How happy is Kobe Bryant right now? Probably not too much, with the whole Lakers missing the playoffs thing, not to mention the whole Dwight Howard issue – to trade or not to trade, with reports suggesting Bryant wouldn’t mind the man labeled as the future of the franchise being sent somewhere else.
That would end all the discussion about Bryant passing or not, should he pass or not and all the other things coming out of the Kobe Bryant shooting debate tree. The fact is, that despite Bryant has been very bad shooting the long ball this season, even in those games when he didn’t try to force the scoring. Over his last 14, he has shot an awful 1 for 30 from beyond the arc. He is shooting 32.6% from beyond the arc this season, pretty much on par with his success rate over the past four seasons, but his numbers heading into this stretch were much better – 36.1%.
Does this have anything to do with Dwight Howard? Maybe a voodoo curse, who knows. Bryant has averaged only 2.1 shots from beyond the arc per game during the latest stretch, but before that he was shooting a whopping 6.2 per game, which had him in the top 10 among players who take that many shots from beyond the arc. His more hesitant and less successful stretch has taken it down to 5.16, good enough for 22nd in the NBA.
But when it comes to players attempting so many shots from beyond the arc? Except for Kevin Love, who was playing injured even when he wasn’t on the DL, Bryant is the only one allowing himself to take so many shots with such an awful success rate. He’s hitting only 32.6% of his three point attempts, hanging below J.R. Smith with 34%. The best in the league while taking this many shots is Kyle Korver, attempting six three pointers per game and making 46% of them.
Bryant was on a scoring tear through the first half of the season, but it wasn’t just a few games of feeding the ball to Howard and others. He is averaging only 19 points per game during the mentioned 14-game stretch, making 44.8% of his field goal attempts, while taking “only” 15.9 shots per game after averaging 22.1 prior to this weird stretch, leading the league. He is still one of the only two players taking more than 20 shots per game, but has fallen behind in the ego-race to Carmelo Anthony, averaging 22.1 shots per game.
When it comes to shooting per minute, Bryant is at 19.3, which is his lowest ratio since the 2007-2008 season. His effective field goal % is his highest (50.5) ever and his true shooting percentage is also at its best since the 2007-2008 season. As long as he isn’t trying to force the game by taking bad shot after bad shot from the outside, his individual numbers are in good shape.
And the Lakers? That’s a different story, and it seems that as long as the rift between him and Howard continues to tear this team up, with not a lot of time left to pull the trigger on a trade, it seems highly unlikely the Lakers will make the playoffs this season.