Kobe Bryant needs to forget about the scoring title, take a load off and focus on the playoffs. He has been shouldering a huge load all season, and it is beginning to take a toll on his body.
The Black Mamba has put a ton of minutes on his 33-year-old body. While he seems set on proving age has not slowed him down, he is working so hard it is becoming clear that it is slowing him down.
He is currently mired in a horrendous stretch of shooting. In his four games leading up to Saturday, Kobe was averaging a solid 22.3 points, but was shooting just 35 percent from the floor.
That number is going to be even worse now. In the Lakers' 88-85 victory over the Hornets Saturday afternoon, Kobe was just 3-of-21 from the field. It should go without saying that those are miserable numbers. In fact, it is hard to believe any team could win when they have a player shooting that terribly.
One of Kobe's made threes was the game winner. That is the exact kind of impact shot he needs to focus on and not taking as many shots as possible.
Why Kobe Must Take a Load Off
People have argued for years about whether or not Kobe takes too many shots. That was more about efficiency, though. This argument is based on conservation.
Kobe's shooting percentage is hovering around 43 percent, and it has been on a steady decline. That percentage is already the lowest of his career since his second season, and if things continue it will only get worse.
Kobe has to keep his eye on the prize at the end of the season; he must make sure his body is ready for the playoffs.
In this shortened and compact season, that is something that will be more difficult than ever for players—especially a player as driven and competitive as Kobe.
He needs to somehow get comfortable being a guy that may not take 20 shots a game. He can't focus on controlling the ball and scoring 30 every game. To do this, he is going to have to keep the ball moving instead of looking for as many opportunities to score.
While this will take a toll on his scoring average, it will save a massive amount on the toll his body takes. Essentially, he just has to become a guy who picks and chooses his spots to try and take a game over.
This is the only chance he has to make it into the postseason with any hope of dominating when it matters.