Los Angeles Lakers: ESPN Stats and Information

ESPN Stats & Information on Kobe Bryant

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
7:03
PM PT
By ESPN Stats and Information
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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NOTE: Below is information and statistics (along with some analysis, parts of which I agree with more than others) put together on Kobe Bryant by ESPN Stats & Information, centering heavily on his usage rate and related figures.

The objective in posting isn't to create another pro/anti-Kobe argument (most sane Lakers fans understand the team won't win if Kobe isn't a star), but continue the discussion of how best this team can succeed. Stats from 2011-12 reference a small sample size and should be taken with a grain of salt and shouldn't be assumed a long-term trend. There are nonetheless some interesting figures promoting good big-picture questions, equally appropriate after a nine-point loss as a 10-point win.

Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
He has been a busy man, Kobe Bryant.


Perhaps the most pressing is one of sustainability. In a stage of his career in which Kobe's game is naturally becoming less efficient and he faces more serious physical challenges, can he successfully navigate a season in which he is (as you'll see below) setting personal records for usage rate?

If Bryant continues at this rate, and he may not over the long term for a variety of reasons (team chemistry, coaching, injury, etc.), what does it mean for the Lakers? Having a supremely ball-dominant player isn't historically a good formula for title-winning teams, and readers of this space know my predisposition toward balance. With that in mind any discussion of Bryant's usage rate this season should note his current assist percentage (34.5) and assist rate (6.2 per 36 minutes) if carried through the season would be a career highs. By a mile. The notion Bryant is only shooting to the exclusion of facilitating is demonstrably false.

Moreover, if Kobe is going to lower his usage rate, the Lakers likely need to find ways to help him do it. Case in point: Via Synergy, Kobe has been the ball handler in 40 of the team's 59 pick-and-rolls. Without another effective alternative in those situations, it's tough to remove Kobe from the mix.

The question is less about ball-hogging and more of burden and efficiency. In a compressed season with a new coaching staff, a new system and a new injury Bryant absolutely must learn to play with if he plans to stay on the floor and be effective, what's the best formula?

It's a subject we have 59 more games (plus playoffs) to kick around. In the meantime, enjoy the numbers …

--BK

Via Stats & Info ...

ANGLE No. 1: Kobe Dominating the Basketball

One way to measure the degree to which a player is controlling the basketball is usage percentage. It is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he is on the floor. Bryant’s current usage rate not only leads the entire NBA, it would be a career-high, a remarkable feat for someone who has dominated the ball as much as Bryant has in his career.

Highest Usage Percentage

2011-12 season

Kobe Bryant, LAL -- 38.9<<
Carmelo Anthony, NYK -- 33.3
Russell Westbrook, OKC -- 32.7
Kevin Durant, OKC -- 31.8
Blake Griffin, LAC -- 31.5

<<Would be career-high

While most great players have high usage percentages -- particularly ball handlers -- Bryant is dominating the ball at a record pace despite not being at the top of his game.

What’s additionally remarkable is that Bryant’s current usage percentage would be the highest by any qualified player in the 3-point era (since 1979-80).

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0