Breaking Down What Kobe Bryant Needs to Do to Pass Michael Jordan in Scoring

Kobe Bryant might have a tough time catching up to all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his 38,387 career points. But, an equally iconic benchmark could be well within his reach.

The five-time NBA champion is just 2,808 points away from tying Michael Jordan as the third-most prolific scorer of all time, behind Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Bryant won't get there overnight, but it's worth recalling that he scored 2,832 points in 2005-06 alone.

Of course, he averaged over 35 points a game when he hit that mark, so it's highly unlikely he'll score at a similar rate for the new-look Los Angeles Lakers.

Even if the roster wasn't so deep with capable scorers, Kobe is now 34-years-old.

It would be an overstatement to suggest the legendary shooting guard is no longer able to carry the load. He played 38.5 minutes a game last season, nearly five more than he'd played in 2010-11. 

And, he took that opportunity to put up 23 field-goal attempts per contest, the most he'd shot in all but two of his years in the league. Though his efficiency was down a bit, it didn't stop Bryant from averaging just a hair under 28 points per game.

Going forward, however, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see last season's trend reverse itself. Expect Bryant to take fewer shots, and expect him to cash in at a higher rate.

Unless something goes terribly awry with Los Angeles' transition to the Princeton offense, Bryant should get better looks on account of Steve Nash distributing and role players like Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks spreading the floor.

Let's take Kobe's 2010-11 campaign as a model for how his next couple of seasons might look. In 82 games, he averaged 25.3 points while shooting 45 percent from the field. He scored less than he did the following season, but he scored at a more efficient clip.

That season brought him 2,078 points closer to MJ's mark.

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