Kobe Bryant’s Perceived Selfishness Is Not To Blame When L.A. Lakers Lose

The Los Angeles Lakers began the season by winning 13 of their first 15 games.

Then they lost four straight games by a combined 21 points and suddenly the sky was falling, the world was ending and everyone was looking for someone on the team to blame.

Kobe Bryant and his high number of field goal attempts in the Laker losses made for an easy scapegoat; conventional wisdom was that Bryant's selfishness and inability to trust his extraordinarily talented teammates would handicap the Lakers as they made another championship run, going for a three-peat.  

For once, conventional wisdom is not completely off base, but it is not exactly accurate, either.

Before I go into the results of the correlations I ran, it should be noted Bryant is handling the high number of possessions he is using pretty well.

His 35.9 usage percentage currently leads the NBA and is not a usage percentage height he has reached since 2005-06, but the Lakers should not have too many complaints with how Bryant is using those possessions because he is playing as efficiently as he has shown himself capable of being.

After a down season last year, when his 21.9 PER and offensive rating of 109 points produced per 100 possessions were his worst since 1999-00, his fourth year in the NBA; this season, Bryant has bounced back in a big way.  

His 25.0 PER is better than his career 23.5 PER and his best since the 2006-07 season.

Bryant's offensive rating of 112 points produced per 100 possessions is identical to his career number in that category, and the only reason it is not any higher is because Bryant is struggling mightily from the three-point line; his .471 effective field goal percentage this season is his lowest since 2001-02 and below his career .509 effective field goal percentage from the three-point line.  

As the season progresses, Bryant should see an improvement in both his t...

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