2016 Player Capsule: Kobe Bryant
By the Numbers
6: Games of 30-plus points for Kobe Bryant, who would occasionally turn back the clock.
16: Games missed by the 37-year-old due to various injuries in his final season.
18: Years since Bryant averaged so few points (17.6), rebounds (3.7), assists (2.8) and minutes (28.2) back in his sophomore season of 1997-98.
A trying final season concluded with a firework show for Bryant, who unleashed a 60-point effort in his career finale, powering the Lakers to victory over Utah. Though Bryant led his team in scoring this year, it was on a career-low 35.8 percent field goal percentage that ranked last among the league's 117 qualified players. He also shot just 28.5 percent from 3-point range and was unable to play the type of defense that landed him 12 All-Defensive honors in his career. While he didn't have the legs to shoot efficiently from outside, rest did help the 20-year veteran, as he averaged 19.1 points on a 42.1 percent clip when given at least three days off. Fortunately for Bryant — whose last three seasons had been cut short due to injuries — he did achieve his primary goal of being able to finish out the year on the court.
In His Own Words
"To try to climb up that (injury) mountain and get knocked down three years in a row and try to bounce back again — I’m just happy to sit here healthy, having finished the season. Those three years are the thing that I think sticks out most to me, because internally that was the most challenging."