Thursday, 26 April 2012

This is really close. (But not really).

It sounds like Kobe is sitting tonight, which robs the viewers of a Kobe's licence to hog. He issues that right to himself all the time, but this would have been the ultimate example. Kobe needed 38 against Sacramento, the team with the second worst D in the league, better than only Charlotte who with a pending loss vs the Knicks (23rd in a row!) will officially be the worst team ever. (Yes really, .106 winning percentage, which would likely fall below .100 in an 82 game season. Scary!)

The scoring race is incredibly close between the usual suspects - Kevin Durant, Kobe and Lebron. All three get just under 35 points per 48 minutes played. Don't pay attention to points per game, since they don't play the same amount of games or the same minutes.

The following table shows a few different ways to get to 35.

LeBron Kevin Kobe 
James Durant Bryant
Points 1683 1850 1616
Minutes 2326 2546 2232
pts/48 (overall) 34.731 34.878 34.753
Difference -0.147 0.000 -0.126
FG attempts 1169 1297 1336
FGA/48 mins 24.12 24.45 28.73
Difference -4.61 -4.28 0.00
Games played 62 66 58
MPG 37.52 38.58 38.48
Proj mins (66 games) 2476.065 2546.000 2539.862
Difference -69.935 0.000 -6.138
Proj FGA 1244 1297 1520
Difference -276 -223 0
FGA (actual) 621 643 574
FGM (actual) 1169 1297 1336
FG% 53.12% 49.58% 42.96%
Difference 0 -3.55% -10.16%

The raw stats at the top, and its easy to see almost no difference in scoring. (Less than 2/10ths between 1st place KD and 3rd LBJ).

Look at Kobe's shot attempts - more than 4 extra per 48 than the other two. That is substantial. Why is it substantial? Look at the % of makes for each guy. (FG%) Kobe misses a lot more than the other two. So in order to get his 35, he requires more shots.

KD and Kobe play almost the same amount of minutes, in fact KD leads the entire league in minutes played (a historically bad stat to lead if you want to win a championship) while LeBron sees slightly less court time.

So LeBron plays a little less than Kobe, and shoots a little less than Durant, but scores just as much. You have to remember when considering this that you aren't comparing 3 bench scores. This is the three highest scoring players in the league! Or alternatively, note that the scoring title talk is all about Durant and Kobe, when in reality Lebron is right there, while doing it in less time and on less shots.

A final note to put in perspective just how substantial the real gap is between how Lebron gets 35 and how Kobe does it. If Kobe played tonight, 38 points would get him the scoring title as the media accepts it. But it would take him 290 consecutive makes to catch LeBron's FG%.

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