Harry How/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant, at 34 years old, is having one of his best seasons.
Career per-game averages: 25.5 points (45.4%), 4.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 23.5 PER
2012-13 per-game averages: 29.7 points (47.4%), 4.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 24.3 PER
Bryant is having the best shooting season of his career.
That's saying something for a guy who's one of the greatest scorers of all time. He's also doing it well past the age range of a player's peak.
According to Basketball-Reference, Bryant's true shooting percentage (an efficiency percentage based on two-pointers, three-pointers and free throws) is higher than it has been his entire career, at 58.4 percent.
Bryant is leading the league in scoring, and his points-per-game average is the highest it's been since 2006-07. Bryant also earned the most votes of any player selected as an All-Star starter, his 15th consecutive appearance in the game.
While it's statistically one of Bryant's best seasons, the superstar has not been able to lift the disappointing Lakers. Per Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com after a Sunday loss to the Toronto Raptors, Bryant appeared ready to take on the blame, saying:
Everybody wants to know what's the reason, whose fault it is and this, that and the other. I just made it more easy. You should just point the finger at me. Let me take all that. This way, we won't have to worry about that as a team. It's part of my responsibility. I'll take [the criticism] and we can just focus on what we do best, which is playing together and trying to figure out how to get out of this losing.
Defensively, Bryant has not been the same player who earned nine NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. He's the leader of a Los Angeles Lakers defense ranked 26th in the league, allowing 101.6 points per game.
He can't do it all on his own—just as he learned in 2004-05 through 2006-07.
Even a career season might not be enough for Bryant and the Lakers.