This week Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers became the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 points.
But that may not be Kobe’s most historic accomplishment.
At age 34 Kobe is having one of the best shooting years of his legendary career, hitting 49.0% of his attempts, the best field goal percentage in his 17-year career.
For a guards who attempt a high-volume of shots, no NBA player age 34 of over has ever shot better than Kobe Bryant is this year.
The All-Time List
Among NBA guards age 34 and older who attempt at least 15 shots per game, Kobe’s 49.0% would be the NBA’s all-time best if he can maintain his current pace for the rest of the year.
Highest FG% – Guards Age 34+ (Min 15 FGA/game)
1) 49.0% – Kobe Bryant, age 34
2) 48.8% – Sam Cassell, age 34
3) 47.9% – Jerry West, age 34
4) 46.5% – Michael Jordan, age 34
5) 46.1% – Sam Jones, age 34
Kobe’s longevity coupled with his amazing productivity have put him in position to submit the most accurate shooting season for a high-volume shooter his age in NBA history.
Kobe’s Best Shooting Season Ever
Few players last 17 seasons in the NBA to begin with, and even fewer manage to play at an elite level that deep into their careers. Amazingly, in Kobe’s 17th season he is enjoying his best shooting season in his career.
Kobe Bryant’s Highest FG%
1) 49.0% – 2012 (through 19 games)
2) 46.9% – 2002
3) 46.8% – 2000
4) 46.7% – 2009
5) 46.5% – 1999
Not only is Kobe putting together his best shooting season in his career, it is the best he has shot the ball by a wide, wide margin. His 49.0% this year is more than two percentage points better than his previous high of 46.9% a decade ago.
It seemed like Kobe’s best shooting days were behind him coming into this season.
Bryant’s field goal percentage had declined significantly in each of his last three campaigns entering the 2013 season. His shooting declined from 46.7% in 2009 to 45.6% in 2010 to 45.1% in 2011 to a dismal 43.0% last year.
True, Kobe’s 30,000 points are a tremendous achievement as he becomes just the fourth player in NBA history to reach that threshold.
But don’t lose sight of his historic shooting percentage this year, either.
Because nobody has ever done what Kobe Bryant is doing this season.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew’s archive or check out these articles:
Why the Lakers Should Not Give Andrew Bynum $100 Million
Top Five Lakers Playoff Moments in the Kobe Era
Kobe Bryant’s Top-5 Most Ridiculous Box Scores