Updated Projections for Kobe Bryant’s Twilight Years

In his 17th professional season, Kobe Bryant continues to mystify the NBA community. Unfortunately, just because he's enjoying such great personal success doesn't mean we'll have the pleasure of watching him for much longer.

At 34 years old, there wasn't an expectation that Bryant would piece together one of his most efficient seasons ever. But, as he always does, Kobe's made us look like fools, as he's greatly exceeded expectations. Were it not for the historically significant seasons that LeBron James and Kevin Durant are putting together, Kobe would be in the thick of the MVP conversation.

Kobe's field-goal percentage (46.8 percent) is the highest it's been since the 2001-02 season and is tied for the second-best of his career. The ageless wonder has also recorded his highest three-point percentage (33.9 percent) since 2008-09, when the Los Angeles Lakers went on to defeat the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. 

In fact, the season that Bryant is currently putting together will have historical significance when he looks back on his laundry list of career achievements.

Just for the sake of argument, let's look at Bryant's numbers this season compared to Michael Jordan's during the 1997-98 season. Jordan turned 35 during February of 1998, but the majority of that season was played at the age of 34.

Bryant is averaging 27.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. During the 1997-98 season, Jordan posted averages of 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists a night, while he shot 46.5 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from three. 

Pretty similar numbers, right?

Not only are Kobe's scoring figures consistent with Jordan's, but his shooting efficiency is slightly better. Consider that Kobe's averaging the third-most assists of his career while maintaining such a robust scoring average, and his numbers are even more impressive.

Given Kobe's immense su...

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