Father Time Has Caught the Black Mamba
*Photo via USA Today
For the first time in his career Kobe Bryant, is no longer a must see player. In fact Kobe has become a shell of himself, perhaps the Nerdlucks' have stolen his talents! Unfortunately, that’s not the case, either way Bryant has become incredibly hard to watch. Through 13 games Bryant is averaging 15.5 points per game, with a little under three and half assists and just over four rebounds a game. Now at first glance these numbers look pretty good for a 37 year old, coming off his third major injury in three years. However, after looking deeper and watching the Black Mamba at work you can see he is no longer the “Different animal and the same beast”. Bryant is shooting a horrid 30 percent from the field and 20 percent from behind the arc. A lot of Bryant’s struggles are coming from him playing as if he’s still in his prime. He hasn’t adapted to his current body state, despite how Bryant has always been a volume shooter. This season however, we’ve seen a volume shooter who's shot selection has been rather poor. Bryant has shown he doesn’t have the ability to create the space to get off higher percentage shots. Bryant has been settling for contested jumpers and furthermore he’s attempting the most threes ever in his career with seven a game. Now, if you are 37 years old, and losing your athleticism, and can’t create your own shots, more threes is surely not the answer.
*Photo via USA Today
Through just 13 games this season, Bryant has shown signs of breaking down further as, Bryant has missed three of the last seven games for the Los Angeles Lakers. His body isn’t recovering like it use too and Bryant himself has said that everything seems to hurt nowadays. With the negatives stacking up, there’s ways for Bryant to salvage this year and play further and be a successful post prime player. It would take him to change completely though. Eight days ago the Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons, in this game Bryant shot a measly 31 percent. It wasn’t about his scoring though, Bryant was an assist and two rebounds shy of a triple double. Now I am aware Bryant can’t do that consistently, or can he? Bryant is an underrated passer for his position and his reputation overshadows his ball moving abilities. Bryant has the most assists ever at the shooting guard position, check this if you don’t believe me. If Bryant can finally see that he must get the guys around him more involved, not only does it take the scoring pressure off him, it allows him to be set up for better looks. There’s still a lot of season left to play, but it doesn’t seem too promising. Despite if we must endure this horrid nightly shooting performance by Kobe Bryant, he will still attract our interest for all he’s accomplished through his now 20 year career.
Bryant has announced that he will retire at the end of the season, so fans have one last chance to watch one of the greatest players in NBA history.