Sportress of Blogitude

Kobe Bryant on 3-11 Lakers team: ‘We’re not a 3-11 team. We’re not’

kobe-bryant

While the saying goes that numbers don’t lie, as far as Kobe Bryant is concerned, the numbers that indicate the Los Angeles Lakers are a 3-11 team — which they are — simply are not accurate.

The Lakers superstar obviously is making a point in more philosophical terms by arguing that the Lakers are better than the team’s 3-11 record indicates. But when other numbers are taken into account, the team is in fact a 3-11 team, if not worse.

While the Lakers are in the middle of the pack offensively, ranked 13th-overall, scoring 102.0 points per game, the team is historically bad defensively.

The team is dead-last in the NBA as it relates to points allowed per game with 111.6. And digging deeper into the Lakers’ defensive statistics reveals even greater dysfunctional ineptitude.

Opponents are shooting at a 48.7% clip on field goals, bad enough for second-worst in the league.

But when the Lakers’ defensive statistics are broken down even further, the numbers reveal the Lakers are on pace to have one of the worst defenses in NBA history.

As noted by Pro Basketball Talk (with additional damning evidence from Eye on Basketball), the Lakers are an extremely poor defensive team.

NBA.com stat-tracking reveals that the Lakers are giving up 114.4 points per 100 possessions. No team in the past 15 seasons has fared that poorly in that advanced statistic.

Basketball-Reference.com’s calculations (again via Pro Basketball Talk), meanwhile, indicate that the Lakers surrender 117.2 points per 100 possessions. The next-worst teams — the 91-92 Nuggets, the 92-93 Mavericks, and the 08-09 Kings — gave up 114.7 points per 100 possessions. Not pretty.

Bryant clearly is willing to play the alpha male on the offensive end, leading the league with 26.7 points per game, although doing so while putting up a league-leading 24.0 shots every outing as he ranks in the bottom third of NBA players with a 38.1 field goal percentage.

While pride can go a long way when trying to be a leader of men — something Bryant has in spades — but if the team cannot rally around Bryant and play better all-around games, things will continue to go poorly for the Lakers in the win/loss department.

While eleven games is a relatively small sample size, no matter how many points the Lakers continue to put up, if the team cannot get stops on the defensive end, the Lakers will continue to lose at a consistently awful pace … no matter how much Bryant protests the misleading nature of the numbers that spell out quite convincingly the team’s present status.

(photo credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty)