Kobe Bryant: Maybe You’re Fatigued Because You Lead the NBA in FGA?

Kobe Bryant fadeaway into the crowd at the Staples Center

After two close losses to Oklahoma City and Sacramento (by one and seven points respectively), Kobe Bryant shot a combined 11-45. After shooting 30 shots against the Kings, Kobe admitted that he may have been physically fatigued.

“Yea, didn’t have my legs,” Kobe said. “It’s pretty frustrating. Got to figure it out.”

Figure what out? What’s there to figure?!

Kobe’s complete lack of team-awareness is one of the most frustrating about him; even at 36, on the comedown of his career, Kobe still doesn’t seem to know how (or want) to make the game easier… for himself or his teammates.

After 19 seasons, Kobe Bryant is still as arrogant and self-involved as he was when he came into he league. Actually, he’s probably worse; the idea that his forcing shots may not be a good thing for the Lakers is completely lost on him.

Even in the face of his horrendous shooting percentage of 37.2% (and 27% from three), he is undeterred. Here’s the bigger problem, even with a sub 38% shooting percentage from the field, Kobe is still chucking up the most field goal attempts in the league — shooting a league high 22.4 shots a game.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Russell Westbrook are 2nd and 3rd, shooting 19.7 and 19.6 shots a game, but they’re both shooting around 46% — almost 10% higher than Kobe Bryant.

It’s well-documented (by me) that I dislike Kobe Bryant, but I am willing to admit that the Lakers need his experience down the stretch of games. The problem being that by the time the game winds down, Kobe doesn’t have enough in the tank like he used to.

So why doesn’t he become more of a facilitator? A decoy so he doesn’t exhaust himself in the second and third quarters? Every once in a while, Kobe will take a more team-oriented approach and try to be a playmaker, but within the same game or sometime during the next game, he’ll revert to being Kobe again (selfish).

There’s nothing in Kobe’s history that tells us that he’s considering taking 3-5 fewer shots a game (much less 5-7 fewer shots) this season. Even though taking fewer shots during the course of the game would allow him to focus on defense, have more lift when the Lakers actually need him to take a tough shot and allow his teammates to get into some kind of rhythm.

Nah who are we fooling?

Kobe will keep doing Kobe until he retires; going for his because he’s convinced himself and legions of fans that the next shot is going in. Even if he hasn’t come close to sniffing 50% shooting all season and only reached 40% shooting twice in the last ten games.

Late in the game against Sacramento, he convinced himself of his immortality and shot the Lakers out of the game:

Kobe Bryant arrogantly believes that a Kobe Bryant contested 16-foot fadeaway is ALWAYS the better option. Better than a Carlos Boozer post up, Jordan Hill midrange shot, Jeremy Lin drive, or a Nick Young iso.

Unfortunately, that’s what the Lakers are stuck with until he retires. At least one player will be happy.

A version of this post originally appeared on stuarte.co

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