Kobe Bryant: What If He Had Shot 50% for His NBA Career?
Kobe Bean Bryant is viewed by some as the second best shooting guard in NBA history. His all-around game was reminiscent of Michael Jordan's, the greatest player ever. What would Kobe's scoring numbers look like if he had shot each season what Jordan did for his entire career?
For his regular season career, Michael Jordan shot 50 percent from the field (49.7 percent). I took the liberty of using Michael's career field goal percentage shooting clip and applied it to Bryant's individual 15 seasons. Bryant has never shot higher than 46.9 percent from the field for a season.
Instead of using Kobe's actual year-by-year shooting percentages, I multiplied the shots from the field he took (including threes) by Jordan's career field goal percentage of 49.7 percent.
Here's what happened:
Season 1 - real ppg 7.6; if he shot 50% = 8.5 ppg
Season 2 - real ppg 15.4; if he shot 50% = 17.0 ppg
Season 3 - real ppg 19.9; if he shot 50% = 20.9 ppg
Season 4 - real ppg 22.5; if he shot 50% = 23.5 ppg
Season 5 - real ppg 28.5; if he shot 50% = 30.0 ppg
Season 6 - real ppg 25.2; if he shot 50% = 26.4 ppg
Season 7 - real ppg 30.0; if he shot 50% = 32.2 ppg
Season 8 - real ppg 24.0; if he shot 50% = 26.1 ppg
Season 9 - real ppg 27.6; if he shot 50% = 30.1 ppg
Season 10 - real ppg 35.4; if he shot 50% = 38.0 ppg
Season 11 - real ppg 31.6; if he shot 50% = 33.1 ppg
Season 12 - real ppg 28.3; if he shot 50% = 29.9 ppg
Season 13 - real ppg 26.8; if he shot 50% = 28.1 ppg
Season 14 - real ppg 27.0; if he shot 50% = 28.7 ppg
Season 15 - real ppg 25.3; if he shot 50% = 27.2 ppg
Does it make a difference? Yes. If Kobe had shot 50 percent he would have had two more seasons over 30 ppg, and he would have three scoring titles rather than just two. He would have beaten Iverson's 30.7 ppg in 2003.
Also, if Kobe had shot 50 percent he could have averaged 38.0 ppg in 2006 and not just 35.4. He would also have had his only season with over 1,000 field goals if he had hit 50 percent. He would have also become only the third player ever after Wilt and MJ to score 3,000 points in a single season if he had shot 49.7 percent.
If Kobe had shot 50 percent from the field, he would now be at 26.9 ppg for his career and not 25.3. He would not be No. 11 on the all-time points per game list; he would be No. 6. That is IF.
If Kobe had shot 50 percent in the playoffs in 2004 and 2008 would the Lakers have two more titles? Who knows, but Kobe shot 41.3 percent from the field in the 2004 playoffs and 45.7 percent from the field in the 2008 playoffs. If...
If Kobe had shot 50 percent instead of 45 percent for his career, he would be only 317 points away from 30,000 today, but he stands at 27,868 points.
If Kobe had shot 50 percent from the field for his career would he be the greatest shooting guard ever? No. MJ would still be the greatest. Proof? What if Jordan had shot 45 percent for all his seasons instead of 50 percent? Think about it.
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