Why is Kobe Bryant so inefficient?

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is having one of the most inefficient seasons for a high-volume shooter in NBA history.

He’s on pace for the worst field goal percentage (37.2 percent) by a player averaging at least 20 field goal attempts per game since Bob Cousy in 1951-52 (36.9%), a time that pre-dates the NBA’s 24-second shot clock.

Bryant has attempted 69 “clutch time” shots this season. No other Laker has more than 15 such attempts. All of his teammates combined have only 61 attempts.

Why has Bryant been so inefficient this season?

Too many mid-range shots

Bryant has attempted 272 mid-range shots this season, second-most in the league behind LaMarcus Aldridge. (Mid-range shots are 2-pointers outside the paint)

Worst Mid-Range FG Pct
Minimum 150 Mid-Range FGA This Season

Bryant has more mid-range attempts than the Rockets have as a team (235).

He has the worst mid-range field-goal percentage (37.9 percent) of the 14 players with at least 150 mid-range attempts this season.

Thirty percent of Bryant’s shot attempts this season are “long twos” (2-pointers from 16 feet and beyond), which over a full season would be his highest percentage since 2006-07.

His average field goal attempt distance is 15.4 feet this season. That would be the longest average of his career.

Bryant is averaging 10.1 mid-range shot attempts per game this season. He averaged 6.9 before his injury two seasons ago and only 4.7 per game in six games last season.

Bryant is shooting below 40 percent on mid-range shots for the first time since 2007-08. His 37.9 mid-range field goal percentage would be his worst since 2004-05.

He likes low-percentage shots

Ninety three percent of Bryant’s mid-range shot attempts this season are contested.

Bryant leads the league in contested mid-range shot attempts this season (9.7 per game).

Of the 112 players to attempt at least 50 contested mid-range jumpers this season, Bryant ranks 76th in field goal percentage at 37 percent. The average for those 112 players is 40 percent.

Kobe leads the league with 53 contested mid-range shot attempts in the fourth quarter this season.

Of the 111 players with at least 10 contested mid-range shot attempts in the 4th quarter this season, Bryant is 86th in field goal percentage at 28 percent. The average for those 111 players is 38 percent.

Kobe has attempted more contested mid-range shots than his three teammates who have taken the next-most combined – Carlos Boozer, Nick Young and Wes Johnson – but all three of them have a better field goal percentage than Bryant does on those shots.

Not letting others take clutch shots

Bryant is 1-for-7 this season on game-tying/go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime. The only other Lakers player to take such a shot is Nick Young, who is 1-for-2.

The league average on those shots this season is 27.2 percent.

Only Kemba Walker (3-for-11) has attempted more game-tying/go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter/overtime than Kobe this season.

Highest Usage Pct in Clutch Time
Min. 25 Clutch Time Minutes This Season

Over the last four seasons (since 2011-12), Kobe is 7-for-30 (23 percent) on game-tying/go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter/overtime. His teammates are 8-for-22 (36 percent).

In “clutch time” (last five minutes of fourth quarter/OT with score within five points), Kobe has attempted by far the most shots in the league this season. He has 69, while no other player has more than 52.

Bryant has the highest usage percentage in clutch time this season among players with at least 25 clutch time minutes, yet he has the worst effective field goal percentage of the top 13 players in that category.

Data on “contested mid-range shots” is courtesy of SportVu/NBA.com player tracking data