Is Kobe ‘Vino’ Bryant Really Getting Better with Age?

As the Los Angeles Lakers square up and make a run for a playoff spot, a lot of attention has been placed on Kobe Bryant's new nickname, "Vino."

There's no real indication of who gave Kobe the nickname, other than the fact that he tweeted this a few days back:

Omg . My man just gave me a new nickname and I love it! Ha #vino

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 1, 2013 Whoever his man is, at least Kobe went about getting this nickname from somebody else, as opposed to his self-imposed Black Mamba moniker.

Regardless of where it's from, does the nickname actually make sense?

Obviously we've talked about Kobe experiencing the best shooting year of his career, as far as straight field-goal percentage goes, and he's well on his way to becoming a better, more willing passer than ever before.

However, does that necessarily mean that he's "better with age"?

Taking a look at those shooting percentages laid out in front of you makes it seem as if it's a no-brainer. He's a better shooter this year than he's ever been before, even though his three-point shooting has regressed back to the mean.

As the season has progressed, it's been evident that Kobe is no longer taking as many "groaner" shots; shots that he can make, but still bad shots.

He's shooting far less than a season ago, and he's taking better shots when he does shoot.

He's shooting an average of 5.3 shots directly at the rim, compared to 3.5 last year. Going further, he's shooting 5.1 shots per game from 16-23 feet, compared to 7.7 last year.

That small shift in shot location is enough to explain Kobe's entire season.

Once you weigh the shots he's taking, giving more value to a three-pointer made than a normal field goal, Kobe's still having his best season. His effective field-goal rate of 51.3 percent is a career high, which tells you that he's making u...

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