Kobe’s Shooting Disengages Teammates; Results In Uninspired Play

Kobe’s Shooting Disengages Teammates; Results In Uninspired Play


Kobe Bryant has been one of the most scrutinized players in the history of professional sports. Some of this is deserved, some isn’t. However, there’s no question that his place as one of the most polarizing stars in the athletic realm is concrete. He’s managed to have answers to almost everything thrown at him by his critics, and he simply shrugs off and accepts the things he hasn’t been able to put to rest on the court. It doesn’t get to him.

This season the statistic we’re seeing most frequently is a bit of an oxymoron. Whenever Kobe plays well and scores over 30 points, the team struggles. In fact, struggles might be too kind of a word. When Kobe scores 30 or more points in a game the Lakers are downright dreadful. Following Tuesday night’s embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a game in which Bryant poured in a season high 42 points, the Lakers are 1-10 in games when Kobe surpasses the 30-point plateau. A simple look at their overall record (9-13) and some basic arithmetic will tell you that the team is 8-3 when Bryant keeps his point total at 29 or less. It’s notable to point out that when the team lost to the Utah Jazz on Nov. 7 he dropped 29, meaning he was a missed free throw away from a 1-11 record when scoring 30. But we won’t split too many hairs.

As is the case with many numbers and statistics, I think that this one is very misleading. But not necessarily in the way that some people do. I’ve seen arguments from numerous people that Bryant’s scoring output has no effect on the team, and that he’s forced into scoring obscene amounts of points because the rest of the team is incapable of helping him out.

To me, this is only partially true.

Bryant feels the need to take over games when his teammates are struggling, which results in 30-point barrages in which he takes 30 shots and dominates the ball on nearly every possession. And while it may be fun to watch for those on the other side of the television screen, it ends up taking his teammates even further out of the game. So while Bryant may feel that he’s helping his team by taking a large percentage of the team’s shots, in reality it’s this mindset that is to blame for why the Lakers look so dismal on offense in the first place.

—- Show off your team pride with your own Lakers Nation t-shirt! —-

I’ll get back to that point later, but for now I just want to take a look at some numbers from some of the games in which Kobe’s had high scoring nights, and try and pinpoint the exact problem.

Nov. 2, 2012: Lakers vs. Clippers

It was the third game of the season, and the Lakers fell to the Clippers 105-95 despite 40 points from Bryant. He was also relatively productive with a 14-23 FG shooting night, although he did turn the ball over six times, more than any other player from either side that night. He had just one assist. Kobe shot the ball 23 times (as I mentioned above). The rest of the team attempted 45 shots total, spread out amongst eight players. That’s an average of 5.6 shots per player not named Kobe. (Get used to this statistic, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it.)

Nov. 21, 2012: Lakers vs. Kings

Sacramento went into this game with a 2-8 record, so naturally the Lakers lost by 16. Kobe scored 38 in this one, on another fairly efficient 11-20 shooting night. But the entire team only took 65 shots, meaning Bryant accounted for 30 percent of their total shots. Again, like their game against the Clippers, this left an average of five shots for every other player on the roster. More disheartening still, Dwight Howard, the so-called second gun in Los Angeles, took just four field goal attempts that night – one less than Darius Morris. Once again, Kobe had just three assists but turned it over seven times, which led all players on the court.

Nov. 27, 2012: Lakers vs. Pacers

Kobe took 28 shots to score 40 points on this particular night, both of which were game highs. His efficiency was down a little, as he made just 12 of those 28 attempts. But again, he accounted for 37 percent of the team’s total shot attempts (76). So while Kobe jacked up 28 shots, the other eight Laker players who made it on the floor that night shared just 48 attempts. How many shots per player is that? Six. Which any mathematician will tell you is 22 shots less than what Bryant had. Beginning to sense a pattern here?

Dec. 4, 2012: Lakers vs. Rockets

On this particular night Kobe took 31 shots. Thirty-one! He made 14 of them and finished with a game high 39 points, which was more than every other Laker player combined not named Antawn Jamison or Dwight Howard. The team as a whole took 83 shots,  meaning Kobe accounted for 37 percent of the team’s total shot attempts. He had two assists and three turnovers, and accounted for nine of the team’s 21 three-point attempts (of which he made two). And, as the broken record continues, the rest of the team averaged 6.5 field goal attempts per player, a whopping 25 attempts less than Bryant.

Dec. 11, 2012: Lakers vs. Cavaliers

The low point of the season thus far, as the Lakers lost to a Cleveland team that was 4-17 entering the game. I’m sure at this point you can guess the numbers that are to follow, but I’ll share them anyways. Bryant scored a season high 42 points on 28 shot attempts. He had an efficient night, making 16 of those shots, but again left little for the rest of the team. His 28 FGA made up 37.3 percent of the team’s total (75 FGA), leaving 47 shots for the other eight guys who made it onto the court. The percentage? An average of 5.8 shot attempts for every other player on the floor.


Now these are just five examples, and some will argue that it’s easy to twist the numbers in your favor to prove a point. While I certainly agree with that to an extent, I feel like Bryant’s numbers from the Lakers’ wins are even more indicative than those in the games the team lost.

Here are a few of the games that resulted in Laker wins.

Next Page: Noticing Trends in Laker Wins

  • Wayne Nagata

    this is such a complicated way to say the Lakers suck.

    • Rasheed

      Simple way you can say: Heartless Lakers. They are missing heart. We need heart!!!

      It’s not rocket science where they have to invent something new. Everything is in place but not clicking unfortunately.
      We as fans are upset. I bet Lakers management is also frustrated with their decisions and the performance of Lakers after spending millions of dollars.
      Money doesn’t buy Championships, however, talent team does!

  • LaLfan619

    I don’t know but when one of Kobe’s teammate is hot, he should keep passing the ball to him but no he start shooting , I’m a laker fan and I’m not hating on Kobe but be realistic , it’s a team sport and he should pass the ball to his teammate and build confident of their shooting.

  • Crystal

    I disagree. Kobe’s not trying to undermine his teammates but he’s the only one that plays with heart game after game. Like most people, Kobe HATES to lose and he’s trying to do all that he can to carry his team.

    • Daniel Buerge

      Right, so isn’t it up to him to figure out what works best to get the team to win? Which is clearly to get more guys involved in the offense?

      • Rasheed

        so far read 1/3 page…More to read….there is too much info here…

        Foremost Daniel, I would like to praise you for daring to highlight this issue “Kobe’s Shooting Disengages Teammates; Results In Uninspired Play.”

        I am 100% sure that it affects his teammates. I will give you simple example. Lets assume, Crystal, Daniel, Rasheed, Pau, Dwight playing game. Rasheed takes more shots than the rest despite Dwight and Pau are capable of making shots, and supporting cast Daniel and Crystal are average players who can also do good if involved consistently in the game 😛 (no one timer game where Kobe passes ball and the other games he doesn’t)

        Rest of the guys are doing rebounds/blocking/steals, going back and forth on the floor just to see Rasheed engaged in offense. Fatigue kicks in, psychological effects kicks in (players saying this is bullsh!t).

        In addition, Rasheed gets upset when Daniel takes a shot (Daniel has to be 100% when he shoots but this doesn’t apply to Rasheed because this is his team). After a while Daniel is not taking wide open 3-pointer or shot. Scared of Rasheed. Because Rasheed says it is his team. If you want minutes to play, you better be nice to Rasheed otherwise Rasheed will make sure you go back to the bench. If you irritate Rasheed most likely this would be your last season with Rasheed. (Question here arises how much Lakers organization is going to give Rasheed freedom and to dictate his terms. I call this baggage that comes for having the legend like Kobe playing for Lakers.)

        I have experienced it myself where one guy tries to take over and I am on the ground pissed off, thinking why the hell I am going back and forth when he is doing the scoring.

        After all, all these players did something to make it to NBA. Now in NBA, instead of playing for the team, they have to play for KOBE?

        Example: Why are clippers playing as a team? Why is Chris Paul not demanding the ball and going for MVP? Why is Chris Paul not saying it is his team? Because he doesn’t have rings, I don’t buy that. They are winning the game because they spread the ball. Everyone is involve in both offense and defense. Coach is also competent of clippers.

        Daniel if you look at post game videos of Lakers and compare Kobe and Dwight comments…you will see what I and other fans have been crying out loud. Dwight says we are not rotating on defense (I have always blamed on the coach that he is incompetent and he couldn’t fix the problem). Secondly, Kobe says we are getting beat up on transition. Duh! We have been saying defense wins offense. After playing these many games now they are telling media they have problem. We knew it a long time ago which neither the players nor the coach were able fix this issue.

        Daniel bottom line: Kobe’s hunger for MVP and incompetent Coach who doesn’t fix or learn from previous games.

        It starts which Coach and then Kobe. Problem is Coach is incompetent as we have seen (with Nash he maybe good because Nash make him look good coach. Without Nash what is he?)
        Kobe is taking the heat from everyone now because he is the Leader of the team. He is responsible to fix the issue instead of jacking up the shots.

        Something else is also bothering me: Kobe takes over when others are not clicking. I have mentioned this in the past also. But, I have also mentioned that if Kobe is going to keep his mentality like this they will never win Championships. What is he going to do in playoffs? All the season is taking majority of the shots and in playoffs he changes his strategy to play team game…why not start that strategy in regular season? Who gets blamed upon failure in playoffs (weak links except Kobe because he is still showing his efficiency.)
        Kobe must involve teammate from now and not in playoffs. If they miss shots let them miss shots but play team game not individual game.
        Team wins games, period!

        • Daniel Buerge

          I don’t agree with all of your points, but that’s what makes this so great. I appreciate the support. Thanks for reading and commenting. I always appreciate both.

          • Rather Win Games Than Beat MJ

            Daniel: Love this article. Thank you!

            Taking your observations further, how about looking at the makes per attempts percentages of Kobe compared to the non-Kobe 8. In some recent games Kobe shoots in low 30s while the non-Kobe 8 are shooting in the 50s.

            And how can Dwight get 9 shots at 70% and Kobe 29 shots at 31%?

            The kind of analysis in this article could actually fix the Lakers right now if people who can make the changes pay attention and stop enabling the problem.

            Keep up this kind of work and maybe they will eventually want to win badly enough to pay attention to the data!.

            (I’m thinking a whole lot of fans are so frustrated that this problem has gone unfixed for years that we are finding the joy in basketball in the other LA team…at least until the Lakers get a clue and rein in Kobe for the sake of winning games.

            If Dr. Buss wants the return of Showtime, look next door. The Clippers are making “teamwork” mighty entertaining lately. Even the opponents fans cheer a lot of their plays in away games, for the pure enjoyment of seeing good team basketball moves!)

  • joe23

    that is the reason nobody want to sign or play in Lakers team now a days, not like before. coz they know that their is kobe the ball hogger don’t pass and don’t trust his teammates… teamwork win a game notone man game…
    Kobe’s goal this season is to win the league leading scorer.

  • Ryan

    How are you going to try and tell Kobe how to be a leader, where are your rings?

    • Rasheed

      If he was acting like a leader and not focusing too much on his MVP ladder then may be we wouldn’t be discussing in this regard. Just because Kobe has rings means he can do whatever he wants?
      When he got the rings he had a good coach and a good supporting cast.

      • Ryan

        Kobe is gonna get around 30 and do his job regardless, he always has. You can’t ask KOBE to be NASH.

        Some of these players on the team ain’t ready to win yet, they just happy to wear the purple & gold and live in LA. It’ll come around. A 3 page review on what Kobe is doing wrong just seems ridiculous. If he was hurt too they’d have zero wins.

        • Rasheed

          either way they are losing games. Question is what he can and will do to fix this. Did you even read the 3 page article?
          Daniel Buerge makes it simple: “Kobe Bryant has been one of the most scrutinized players in the history of professional sports. Some of this is deserved, some isn’t.”
          Here lot of factors are working against him: He doesn’t have Nash/Pau. NOT utilizing Dwight more, not utilizing his teammate consistently, new coach.
          Solution: Kobe needs to step up on Leadership and own his responsibilities. Responsibility doesn’t mean taking over the game, responsibility means taking care of teammates by involving them in game and by sacrificing few shots. Share the cheddar. Play team game.

          • Ryan

            Article stinks, MY opinion. How are you complaining about Kobes shooting when he’s shooting near 50% from the field?! What planet am I on?? Of course Kobe is gonna dominate the ball, some of these guys have extreme butterfingers and can’t hold on to the ball (including Dwight), especially in a double team. My solution is defense oriented, stop switching if you arent going to fully commit to the mismatches, and GET DOWN on transition WITH EFFORT

  • mhuelk

    I’ve watched all the games so far and I have to say the so called supporting cast has played very poorly right from the start too often. In those cases I can understand limiting their shot attempts if they’re just not making the most open attempts!! So then Kobe takes over. Seems natural. I agree to that if that happens the other guys become somehow dislodged from the entire game.
    Fact still is: in games where they don’t play so very poorly right from the beginning, they keep getting shots and as a result they tend to win.
    Just saying: this has a lot to do with the individual performances of the non-Kobe guys. Maybe more than with Kobe being Kobe.
    They simply have to step it up big time! And THEN Kobe shouldn’t (have to) dominate the amount of shot attempts.

  • Cleazell

    If u don’t agree with this article you are what i like to call a Kobe fan not a Laker fan. In any team its important for the leader to get his team involved.

    • lakers_824

      once kobe retire manny ppl are going to be done with watching ball they are not going to be interested in watching like they are now with kobe in the league. Appreciate a Legend while u have him, not often a player like bean comes around. Once he is gone then u will start to realize how good he really was.

      • Rasheed

        We know that already. But this is not a excuse for poor leadership. Offense not working, defense not working…What is working so far…I’ll tell you Kobe’s stats are good…MVP ladder. The rest is disaster.

        I see this as a crime scene. Who is the beneficiary out of this disaster. I only see ONE MR. KOBE BRYANT!!! “my hero”

        • lakers_824

          1. Dwight does not have ANY post moves besides the left hook, also he does not dominate the paint like shaq did, he needs to be tougher and stronger common u cant even score on tyler zeller really?, on another note i think coach needs to draw up more easy plays for dwight like ally oops?

          2. The play of MWP needs to be consistent, he needs to make his 3’s and needs to make more good plays, for example when he drives to the lane he looks like he going outta control eveytime, the only reason he is on this team is because of his D, and his defense has been alright but he cannot lock down stars liek he used to

          3. Kobe Bryant – Kobe has been shooting lights out this year over 50%, but his only problem is he may force some shots but thats only bcuz he knows no one else is scoring so he kind of needs to take that load on. Another big problem is that kobe does not play Defense all the time, he needs to help more often rather than just stand there and get mad. And i think he needs move the ball around bcuz his teammates dont look like they are having fun, i mean if i was in the league i wouldnt wanna play D if i didnt get the ball. Even a single touch could get players going.

          4. The Bench – They have played really well lately especially jamison duhon meeks and hill they are playing there game to the fullest but i think the bench does not get enough playing time at times. I have no issues of the bench besides the point gaurd i do not want steve blake id rather take duhon but i really want lakers to sign west he would be huge.

          5. The Coach – I think mike system is alright but i dont think they should run n gun every posession, if its there then go if its not pull back and play from the post or pick and roll. He should also play more inside out becuz when dwight and pau or kobe get doubled in the post they get so many options and easier looks. Still woulda liked phil but i believe in dantoni

          6. Pau Gasol – I think he needs to be in the post more and i think he needs to have more touches i mean he is the most skilled big man in the game, i really hope dantoni finds a way to get gasol to fit into his system.

          7. Steve Nash – He will fix the offense no doubt but the defense is where there is going to be a problem, so well see what the future hold but i think we will get it right at about all star break

          • Rasheed

            1. Issue is with D12: Lakers need more offense from D12…

            Check this out!
            Shaq solution for Dwight is about minimum 28 point and 10rebounds per game.

            Dwight past history:
            Orlando 18.4 points/13 rebounds

            Dwight current stats: aka Dominant center of NBA. (He should not wait until Kobe leaves Lakers to show his dominance. He has the best group in the history of NBA)
            Lakers 18.5 points/11.2 rebounds

            Solution: Class is in session, Dwight! (by Shaq)
            3 shots/Qtr = 12 shots/game
            If if make 50% = 12 points.

            4 Offensive putbacks = 8points (12+8 =20pts)
            3 dropoffs (from Kobe/Pau/Nash pick n roll) = 6pts (12+8+6=26 pts)
            If he makes 5/10 Free throws = 5 points (12+8+6+5=31 pts)
            Total = 31 points.

            2. Agree with you on MWP. Again Lakers have identity issue. Each individual doesn’t know what their role is. Once they figure it out, it will get better.

            3. Agree, Kobe needs to change his strategy as well.

            4. Disagree with West. (but if Kobe and Dwight are fine with west then I have no problem). Agreed bench is showing some positive signs.

            5. I am confused on this one. 90% of the time I am anti-D’Antoni but 10% I have hope with D’Antoni (which is associated with how Nash responds to this situation).
            Although they played only 12 games, won 4 games, lost 8 games with his coaching. Either the coach is incompetent or his staff. Technically speaking this coach is useless without Nash.

            6. Agree, but incompetent coach or his staff have failed to utilize him (resulting in rumormill trade Pau).

            7. Agree Nash is going to make offense better. But you also have to understand that Nash is been out of game for long time now. Building chemistry is going to take time. Initially, I am expecting few turnovers by Nash but as time goes on it will be reduced with better understanding.
            DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE. This is like a kryptonite for Lakers. They don’t have defense. If Dwight does defense, there is no one rotating and opponent easily scoring. Fast break points, lay ups and giving opponent easy shots is costing games as well.

    • lakers_824

      ohh yea and i forgot to add i dont agree with this article


    You’re simply like a sheep being led to the slaughter when you buy into this malarkey… It basically comes from ESPN news reporters who absolutely hate Kobe; first & foremost, with the Lakers as a whole; a very close second…

    Many of these detractors, such as Neil Everett, will sarcastically say and put stuff out there to influence and engage naive fans with buying into their underlying agenda… which is too discredit Kobe and the Lakers, as much as they possibly can… Listen attentively and you will hear it.


      To discredit Kobe and the Lakers: The objective of this detractor (Neil Everett)… there are many more at ESPN, this fool is just blatantly obvious.

  • Rob

    the team will win if Kobe is shooting and his teamates shooting too. in case of those loses. Kobe is shooting while majority of his teamates can’t. why the hell blame the Black Mamba? he wants to win, give him the ball. There are so many ways he’s teamates can help, if they cant score?they can help on defence. it doesnt always the scoring that really matters..

    • Rasheed

      and then cripple their game but don’t change Kobe game…In playoff, if other team shuts down Kobe then you would probably want this crippled team to take over while whole season they are not playing that role.

      Team wins game, Kobe cannot win games by himself. (maybe few games he can win by himself, he is a legend but not the majority of the games)

      If we go by your strategy: if Kobe misses first two shot then he should stop shooting the ball and help on defense and other things right? Does that happen? Is that possible?

      Why double standards for one player and not for other?

      When you have a weak link, you make the weak link stronger not send them to bench or ask them to do other task.
      A leader see this and makes this team better. Kobe has the potential to change how things are going on in the team. However, at present his agenda is on MVP!

      • Rob

        all I’m saying is that hes teammate should step up too… i didn’t say that the ball will always be w/ Kobe.. Yes, leadership is key Kobe have that, he need his teammates.. they should not only be blaming The Black Mamba for this.. The supporting cast doesn’t fit his leadership..

  • Biggie

    I have been saying this for years Kobe is a great talent but he makes everyone worse. He is a catch and hold guy which is very hard to play with he takes people out of their rhythm. The lakers will change when Kobe gets his teammates involved. Shaq hated playing with Kobe, Bynum hated Kobe, Gasol hates playing with Kobe and now Dwight hates playing with Kobe. Kobe is older now. I have alot of respect for him as a competitor but he needs to create an unselfish culture like Chris Paul is doing with the clippers. When big men get touches they give you so much defensively and the lakers need that. No more blaming it on the coach

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinkimfoo Robin Kim

    the author is an absolute retard. you want to talk numbers? look at the games in which kobe has scored over 40 points. the lakers record when he does so is 65-31 or something along those lines, a .667 winning percentage. when he scores 30 or more the lakers record is just as good if not better, as is also the case when he scores more than 50. “but but this season the record is 1-10” why do you attribute this season entirely to kobe when overall it is obvious that him pouring in that ridiculous number of points benefits the team OVERALL? again, you’re nothing but a sh*t chucking ape who struggles to comprehend the multiple nuances of the game that actually affect the outcome, and instead decides to blame ONE aspect that is coincidentally the easiest to come up with. last time i checked, there are four other players on the court at any given time that completely suck balls, what were their stats on the aforementioned games? ah, “kobe made them suck” right? yawn, new material please.