After returning from a season-ending shoulder injury, Kobe Bryant set a new NBA record for most seasons played with one franchise. While it is an extremely rare accomplishment in any sport, the five-time champion has struggled to regain his form so far.
In 11 appearances, Kobe is averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists. However, he has also been averaging 16.4 attempts on 31.1 percent shooting.
With this likely being his final season in the NBA, former and current players have chimed in on Kobe’s play at age 37. Following his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Golden State Warriors, an anonymous player had harsh words according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”
At this stage of his career, Kobe remains a high-volume shooter instead of becoming a facilitator for the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Despite his struggles, head coach Byron Scott has not considered reducing his minutes.
With a 2-12 start, it does not get any easier for the purple and gold. Nine of the next 10 games are on the road and against most teams that will likely make the playoffs. However, there may be an opportunity for the team to come together during this road trip without any major distractions.