Despite playing just shy of forty minutes per game, Kobe Bryant shot the ball at the second highest rate in his career last season. The increase in attempts (three more a game than the year prior and the most since 2005-06) did not result in a more productive Kobe, however. Kobe shot the ball at the worst percentage of his career since his second year in the league. He also shot one more three a game than his career average at the worst three point percentage of his career. No other aspect of Kobe’s game has declined (rebounding, assists, steals, turnovers) – it just appears as if, offensively, Kobe has begun to struggle to find his shot.
The biggest thing missing from Kobe’s career is that of a true point guard. He found success with Derek Fisher; however, Fisher is nothing more than a three assists per game guard (Kobe’s carrer average is 4.7 a game). Bryant’s ability to create his own shot, and find others, has undoubtly been the best the league has seen since Jordan; however, it appears as if age may have finally cought up to the seventeen year vet.
At age thirty-seven, on a bad team, Nash finished second in assists per game last season. He has shown the ability to get any open man the ball where they want it and when. The addition of Nash will give Kobe the ability to work off the ball more, and find his open shot easier. The biggest leap of faith with the signing is if Kobe can be willing to defer more offensively and allow Nash to control the ball and work his game. If so, Kobe may actually dethrone Kevin Durant and take the 2012-13 scoring title. Let’s just hope Kobe is willing to evolve his game and let another former league MVP leave an impression on Hollywood.
– Dave Hilts