Kobe Bryant Poised to Be Least Valuable Scoring Champion in NBA History

Don't make the mistake of thinking scoring is everything that matters in the NBA.

Sure, teams win by putting up more points than the opposition, but determining value on the basis of points per game alone is a recipe for disaster. Efficiency matters, as does the manner in which the points were accumulated.

There's a process that typically leads to the ball going in the basket, after all, and it's quite important to make sure those around you are scoring as well.

Beyond that, defense has to come into play, as it's literally half the battle—for most good teams, at least.

A player who throws up gaudy scoring figures night in and night out can be valuable, but he doesn't necessarily have to qualify as such. During the 2014-15 season, Kobe Bryant has essentially been the poster boy for that concept, leading the NBA in scoring but providing little value to the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.

In fact, he's poised to become the least valuable scoring champion in the history of the Association, assuming his numbers remain steady throughout the year and he doesn't suddenly change his playing style.

He also actually has to win the scoring title for that to become a reality, as that's by no means a guarantee.

At this stage of the season, Bryant is 0.4 points per game ahead of Anthony Davis and two clear of LeBron James and the rest of the field. But there's been no indication that Bryant is going to slow down, so let's run with this as a terrific example of why scoring can't be equated with value in every situation.

Thanks to the archives of Basketball-Reference.com, we have data on scoring champions going all the way back to 1952, when Paul Arizin won the title for the Philadelphia Warriors by averaging 25.4 points per game. Since then, only a single winner of the 64 (including Bryant this year) has put up a worse player efficiency rating than the current Lakers 2-guard...

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