Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kobe shoots a lot because he has to

For the second time this season 4 of the 5 Laker starters score in double digits and in both occasions L.A. came out victorious. One would think that the Lakers with such a dominating first unit (Fisher, Kobe, Barnes, Pau, Andrew) would have more games with this many starters scoring in double digits but surprisingly that isn't the case. I think the team just needs more time to gel to find a more offensive balance.

Kobe will get his no matter what. He leads the league in field goal attempts with 292 (an average of 24 FGA per game). Tonight in Utah he shot 14-31 FG scoring 40. His second consecutive game scoring 40 or more points.

It's clear that coach Brown's objective is to facilitate his offense around his superstar but my only concern with this strategy is when Kobe has an off night, who will step up to help carry the team through offensively? In the front court there is no other player that can create a shot like Kobe can. Having no one to pass the ball to besides his big men is the main reason why Kobe is labeled a ball hog and often criticized for shooting way too much. It's plain and simple, he has to.

Lets look at Kobe's options:
(averages below include three-pointers (if applicable))

Derek Fisher has a beautiful jay but only averages 6 shot attempts. Derek is shooting 30% overall. Fisher has yet to score in double digits.

Matt Barnes is fast and a great slasher but just like D. Fish he also only averages 6 shot attempts and is shooting a dismal 28.6% overall.

Metta World Peace is a strong physical player who should be able to force his way in but is averaging a modest 9 shot attempts. MWP has only made 30 of 105 shots (shooting 29% overall).

Troy Murphy is a big man who has a decent jump shot, its too bad he only shoots the rock about 4 times a game. He needs to simply shoot more in the 21 minutes he's getting. His positive contribution is in the rebounds category. He's averaging more rebounds than points (4pts/6rebs).

Jason Kapono was added to the roster to help ignite the offense, specifically behind the arc, coming off the bench. His time is limited averaging just about 14 minutes so shooting the ball 5-times a game is acceptable in my mind. He's also shooting 43% overall. The only issue with Kapono is his PT.

Steve Blake has obviously grown a trigger happy jay this past off season and is shooting the ball with a new found confidence. Blake is no longer the shy insecure shooter that he once was a season ago as is consequently shooting 11-times a game (38.5% overall). Despite Blake not starting he still averages more minutes than Derek. I think the only thing to do now for coach Brown is start Blake over Fisher. Its clear that Blake is the more productive PG on the team.

Josh McRoberts has brought energy to the team and is a strong finisher. His sprained left big toe has unfortunately put a temporary stop to his season numbers. In the 6 games that he's played in he's averaging 5 shot attempts in 23 minutes and is shooting an impressive 54% overall. Josh just needs to aggressively shoot more to increase his 6ppg.

Devin Ebanks, like Fisher has yet to score in double digits. He's gone 8-22 shooting 36% overall. Despite starting in several games his minutes have been limited.

Andrew Bynum has proven to be quite the beast since his late entrance to the season. In just 8 games Andrew is averaging 17pts/14rebs. Bynum has become the second option in front of Gasol. Bynum is averaging 13 FGA having made 54 out of 105 attempts. He's shooting 52% FG.

Pau Gasol has quietly become the teams third option since Bynum's admission. Gasol is averaging 16pts/10rebs. Even though Gasol is still averaging a double-double, his numbers are slowly starting to decline. The Spaniard is averaging 13 shot attempts in 12 games as where Bynum is averaging the same amount in just 8. Gasol has gone 81-149 shooting 54% overall. Pau's character will not allow him to throw a tantrum because of his decreasing numbers, he will always contribute however which way he can.  

Andrew Goudelock, Luke Walton, Darius Morris and Derrick Caracter (Darius/Derrick have yet to play) all average less than 10 minutes so I didn't add them to the list.

So Kobe's options are Bynum first, Gasol second, perhaps Blake as Kobe's third and then maybe McRoberts if you're basing your decision on the number of shot attempts and shooting percentages. MWP is just a brick station right now. He needs to improve his shooting percentages if he wants to be a viable option for Kobe.

I don't know, you tell me. Who would be the best candidate for the 3rd and 4th option job opening?

Photo credit: AP 2012-01-11


  1. The Lakers actually have plenty of shooters. They just need more time together running the offense. I wouldn't read too much into those people who say Kobe takes too much shot. Mind you these are the same people who also complain when he doesn't.

    Solid post!

  2. Hi Ezra,

    Good point man. These Kobe-hater will always hate regardless.


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