Last week in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Kobe Bryant set an all-time NBA record. Until last week, John Havlicek held the record for the most missed field goal attempts in a career at 13,417. In that game last week, Kobe missed attempt 13,418 and he continues to add to the record.
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times had a perfect perspective on that record as it relates to Kobe and the Lakers:
“Kobe Bryant broke an unwelcome NBA career record with his 13,418th missed shot.
“Or as he prefers to call them, rebounding opportunities for teammates.”
The Lakers’ roster as of today is not a good one. Kobe Bryant is a bona fide star and a Hall of Fame player; beyond him the roster consists of role players and guys “with potential” which means they have not yet definitively shown if they are competent or incompetent. On that squad, Kobe Bryant is the guy who is going to have to take the most shots; and indeed, over the first ten games of the season, Bryant leads the NBA in field goal attempts with 244 shots fired up. Other teams in the league know already that Bryant is the only dangerous scorer on the Lakers and he draws sufficient defensive attention that his shooting percentage so far this year is .377, which is significantly down from previous years. In fact, for a full season the lowest field goal percentage in Bryant’s career since coming into the league in 1996 has been .417 in that rookie season.
At the current pace, Bryant will attempt 2000 shots this year and at the current rate of misfiring, he will miss a total of 1246 of them. I think this record is safe for a while just as John Havlicek’s record stood from 1978 until this year.
One player who hoped to join Kobe Bryant on the floor in a Lakers’ uniform this year is Steve Nash but a bad back has him out for the year – and has likely ended Nash’s career. Bob Molinaro had this item in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot a while back:
“Next chapter: It was reported as news that Steve Nash is injured. When did that become news? Now that the 40-year-old former two-time MVP has been ruled out for the season with a bad back, it’s time to find him a chair at ESPN or TNT. Preferably, one with excellent lumbar support.”
Whenever I have heard Steve Nash interviewed, I have come away from the experience thinking that this is a guy who has a future in broadcasting. He comes across as intelligent, articulate and analytical about the game of basketball. ESPN and/or TNT should indeed work with him to get him on the air. Lord knows, both networks have former basketball players under contract who are “less than wonderful” on the air.
Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer had this comment several months ago:
Baseball’s instant replay is the worst baseball idea since John Felske.
I mention that not because I want to complain about baseball’s instant replay. John Felske is an example of a manager/coach who helped his teams underachieve; he was part of the problem. All too often, coaches/managers are fired after poor on-field results when they are no more to blame for those poor results than they are to blame for world hunger. A case in point right now would be the Oakland Raiders.
I was never one who thought Dennis Allen was a great hire in Oakland or that he was a nascent Hall of Fame coach about to burst onto the football landscape. Having said that, he was not responsible for the Raiders’ unmitigated suckitude over the past couple of years; no coach ever could have made that compilation of players into anything other than a losing team.
Back in late September when the Raiders were 0-4 and looking at their Bye Week, they fired Dennis Allen and replaced him with Tony Sparano whose first coaching act seems to have been the ceremonial burying of an NFL football to symbolize the death of that first quarter of the season and the start of something new. And what has changed…? Here we are in the middle of November and the Raiders’ record stands at 0-10 meaning they have continued to lose games since changing coaches.
I would like to see some kind of empirical evidence that changing the identity of the head coach in Oakland had any material on-field effect. By the way, that does not mean that the Raiders win a game that the oddsmakers thought they would lose; I mean that the team on the field actually shows that they are better than someone else more than “on any given Sunday…” Not only are the Raiders losing, they are always behind; the team has not been leading at halftime in any game this year.
Here are some reality checks for Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie who are the folks responsible for assembling this cast of characters that a head coach is supposed to lead to victory.
1. Your offensive line is awful. Some people cannot get out of their own way; in the case of the Raiders’ OL, what they need to figure out how to do is how to get in the way of opposing defenders as those defenders are making their way to the guy with the ball. Until you find 5 guys capable of that; you are doomed. In only 3 games this year have the Raiders had more than 200 yards passing; they have yet to have any RB go for more than 80 yards in a game.
2. The 2014 Raiders are worse than the 2013 Raiders and/or the 2012 Raiders. That is important because both of those earlier iterations of the team stunk. Your job has been to make it work out there in Oakland and over the last three seasons, a bad team has been made into something significantly worse. This is on one or both of the two of you and not on any head coach, coordinator, assistant coach or trainer.
I will not be surprised in the least if the Raiders fire Tony Sparano at the end of this season. Raiders’ fans can look at the rest of the schedule and see the possibility of two wins in that mix. Somehow, I doubt that a 2-14 record will get Tony Sparano a contract extension. Moreover, just as it was futile and impotent for the Raiders to fire Dennis Allen, the same will be true when they fire Tony Sparano. He is not the problem; there are probably 30 players on the 53-man roster who do not belong there and that is the fault of either Mark Davis or Reggie McKenzie – or both.
Finally, one more item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times. He suggested this as a prop bet; I am not sure which way one should play it:
“The first to win a game will be the:
a) 0-9 Oakland Raiders
b) 0-7 Philadelphia 76ers
c) 2015 Arizona Diamondbacks”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………