It used to be so exciting to watch Kobe Bryant will his team into a win by doing everything statistically, but sadly, his body can’t take it anymore.
Bryant already announced he will be retiring at the end of the season but ironically, this made it the perfect time to hang on to “The Black Mamba”. That’s not to say you should be targeting him on trades but if somehow you used a 7th round pick on him, this would not be the time to be impatient.
If you are ready to turn your back on Bryant, it’s perfectly understandable. Pedestrian averages across the board (16.8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists) with the paltriest and unapologetic shooting we have ever seen (31% on 18 FG attempts an outing).
However, there are still reasons to be optimistic.
For starters, Kobe’s Usage Rate is still elite, even topping 42.1% in the Philadelphia game, followed by 33% in Washington. The percentages could kill your team outright (punting FG% is a very good strategy too, especially in Head-to-Head leagues), but remember that Bryant is not playing to win anymore, lifting a huge burden on his shoulders after the announcement.
Kobe’s play seem to have improved, or at least, appeared to have been loose. Another good sign is Byron Scott has opted to play Bryant in a second game of a back-to-back, and has topped 30 minutes in each of the last four games.
Again, playing with the burden off shifts everybody’s focus from Lakers’ ability (or inability) to win games to, well, see Kobe play and play and play. So if you’re Kobe, hearing boos instead of cheers– from the stands to the print and TV media– should somehow positively affect your overall play.
Of course, cutting bait may be the easiest and aesthetically the most logical move especially when you’re dead last in the FG% category in roto leagues. But if you’re still afloat somehow, there’s nothing wrong with giving a legend one more shot.