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Kobe Bryant In Decline - What It Means For The Lakers

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop takes an extensive look at Kobe Bryant's slow decline and what it means to the Lakers near future.  A must read though here are a few short excerpts.

When Kobe's contract becomes a burden - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN

Bryant is in a group with Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and other top players who came to the NBA straight from high school. Having joined the professional ranks so young, and played so many minutes throughout their careers, they are racking up old-man minutes at young-man ages. Between the regular season and the playoffs, Bryant has already played 48,310 NBA minutes. Only 15 people in NBA history have ever played more.

Nobody really knows if age, or minutes played, better predicts future performance (and players who went to college still endured wear-and-tear all those pre-NBA years).


Thanks to a contract extension he signed in 2010 that will take effect this upcoming season Bryant is due to draw a salary of $25,244,493 in 2011-2012, $27,849,149 the following year and $30,453,805 in 2013-2014, when he will be 35. That's a three-year total of $83,547,447, in a league that has been talking seriously about bringing player costs way down.

Tom Ziller of follows up by charting his decline against the only sensible comparison.  MJ himself.

Kobe Bryant In Decline: Are The Lakers Doomed? -

Again, Kobe is starting a much lower level than MJ had been at around age 31 and 32: Jordan was an MVP having some of the greatest seasons ever, Kobe is an All-Star who hasn't played at legit MVP level in years. But even MJ saw a sharp drop in production (as measured by PER) at ages 33 and 34. By his standards, the drop didn't really matter: he was still the best player in the league, and the Chicago Bulls were still unstoppable. Kobe doesn't have that luxury, but if he downgrades to the same level that MJ did, it seems he'll still be pretty good, All-Star level.

It isn't a question of "if" Kobe is declining, but rather, how fast is he going to fall?  I think you'll all agree that the faster the better.

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