Despite shooting 1-14 from the field in Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, Kobe Bryant is not taking much blame.
“I’m not really worried about it, honestly,” Bryant said, according to ESPN. “My shooting will be better. I could’ve scored 80 tonight. It wouldn’t have made a damn difference. We just have bigger problems. I could be out there averaging 35 points a game. We’d be what, 3-11? We’ve got to figure out how to play systematically in a position that’s going to keep us in ballgames.”
Bryant is not necessarily wrong — the 2-12 Lakers certainly do have issues beyond their shooting guard’s play — but some ownership of arguably the ugliest game he’s ever played couldn’t hurt. Bryant tied the worst shooting performance of his career Tuesday, while shooting 1-7 from 3-point range, scoring four points, and committing three turnovers in 25 minutes in a 111-77 loss.
In 11 games this season, Bryant is averaging 15.2 points on a career-worst 31.1 percent shooting, which currently ranks dead last in the NBA. He has also been the league’s worst 3-point shooter, connecting on only 19.5 percent of his shots from behind the arc.
After Tuesday’s game, Bryant blamed “frustration” for his poor performance and hinted that he needs to improve his shot selection.
“In all honesty, it was tough, the shots that I take — pull-up shots and jumpers and contested jumpers — those are tough shots to hit at 27,” Bryant said. “It’s very tough to hit at 37. I’ve got to do a better job of demanding some help off the ball, get some easier chances: pin-downs, picks, catch-and-shoots, things of that nature.”
Speaking about Bryant’s questionable shot-selection, Lakers coach Byron Scott said the 19-year veteran has earned “that privilege, basically,” which may be true but also won’t help the Lakers win any games.
As for those “bigger problems,” Bryant mentioned, the Lakers rank 25th in the NBA in points scored and 26th in fewest points allowed. Youngsters D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle have been inefficient, and no one in purple and gold is scoring more than Bryant’s 15.2 points a game.
Still, allowing the guy with the worst field-goal percentage in the league to lead your team in shot attempts per game by a mile doesn’t sound like a recipe for success.
Then again, there’s a good chance Kobe can clank the Lakers all the way to another top-five pick, so maybe Scott and general manager Mitch Kupchak know what they’re doing after all.