Stats & Info: Robert Sacre
March, 12, 2014
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Jae C. HongKobe Bryant fractured his knee on December 17 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Rough last 11 months
On April 12 last season, Bryant tore his Achilles in a game against the Golden State Warriors, causing him to miss the playoffs and the start of this season. His subsequent rehab went well enough that the Lakers signed him to a two-year extension worth $48.5 million on November 25.
Bryant debuted this season on December 8, but fractured his left knee nine days later against the Memphis Grizzlies. If he is indeed out for the rest of the season, the 76 games missed will by far be the most for any season in his career. His previous high was 17 games missed in the 2003-04 season.
Couldn’t get in rhythm
In the six games Bryant did play this season, he wasn’t in top form. He was held to single digits scoring in three of the games. To put that in perspective, Bryant had not been held to single digits in scoring three times in a single season since the 1998-99 season.
The Lakers went 2-4 with Bryant this season, as their leader averaged just 13.8 points per game in just under 30 minutes per contest.
Bryant’s curtailed season also decreases his odds of catching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record.
Bryant trails by 6,688 points and turns 36 in August. Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone are the only players in NBA history to score 6,688 points after turning 36.
If Bryant averages 20 points per game over the rest of his career, he would need to play into the 2018-19 season to take the record.
No Hollywood ending
The Lakers have struggled in Bryant’s absence – their .344 win percentage is on pace for the third-worst in franchise history and the worst since the team moved to Los Angeles.
The .344 win percentage is currently fourth-worst in the league – setting up good odds that the Lakers will pick in the top five of the upcoming NBA Draft. Since the territorial draft was abolished prior to the 1966 draft, the Lakers have made just four picks in the top five. Three of those times, the pick came via trade. The only year that the Lakers played their way into a top five pick in that span was in 1975 when they took Dave Meyers second overall.
Despite signing Bryant to the big two-year extension, the Lakers currently have just three guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014-15 for a total of $34.1M (Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre). The projected salary cap for next season is $62.9M and the Lakers could gain around an additional $6.5M in space via the stretch-provision by releasing Nash as his $9.7M contract would be spread over 3 seasons.