At 36 years old, Kobe Bryant is currently leading the league in scoring, averaging 26.7 points per game. Of course, Bryant is also taking an incredible amount of shots to get there, averaging 24 field goal attempts per game, with a 38.1 field goal percentage. To put this in perspective, Anthony Davis who’s currently second in the league in PPG (25.4) is averaging 17.7 field goal attempts, with a 56.5 percent clip.
Bryant’s field goal attempts usually increase in the second half, though this season his accuracy has dwindled. Specifically, Kobe’s shots have been falling short, and Bryant will be the first to admit that:
The second half of games for me has been a struggle lately with my legs. My shots have just been really short even though my legs feel good.”
Take the Lakers overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets, where Bryant’s late in the game shots came up short, shooting just 4 for 14 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Or, in the Lakers loss to the Dallas Mavericks on the road, Kobe made three of his 10 shots in the second half. Plus, throw in that Bryant’s shooting just 79 percent from the charity stripe.
Bryant says he’s already discussed all of this with Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco. They’re in the process of changing up his current training regime to strengthen his legs throughout the season. With 18 NBA seasons already under his belt, Bryant admits figuring out the best way for a 36 year old to strengthen his legs, while at the same time going through the rigors of an NBA season is certainly uncharted territory:
It’s a fine balance. At 36, trying to find the rhythm of strengthening your legs as the season goes on, without wearing them out. We’re kind of in uncharted territory in terms of trying to figure that out, but we will.”
Lakers head coach Byron Scott said Monday that he would rather allow Bryant the time to rest during practice days than lessen his minutes during games. Bryant is currently averaging 35.7 minutes per game this season, though he’s played as many as 44 and as little as 28.
After practice on Tuesday though, Scott did change his tone a bit on the possibility of lessening Bryant’s minutes. Scott said that since Bryant’s shots falling short are a sign of fatigue, he could lessen Bryant’s minutes by a couple per game.
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