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How many points will Kobe Bryant finish with in his NBA career?

57575260Running back to the other side of the court, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wore a determined glare. It was fitting that Bryant displayed his trademark expression while accomplishing another milestone.

He had just become the youngest player in NBA history to surpass 26,000 career points, and that look on his face epitomized the hungry, relentless attitude that had defined his 14-year career.

The play with which he set that record also was representative of Bryant's career, with longtime teammate Derek Fisher setting him up on a turnaround jumper that came off one dribble, one spin move and one pullup in the third quarter over Denver guard Aaron Afflalo in the Lakers' 118-112 loss Thursday to the Nuggets.

Bryant's team-leading 34 points on 11-of-32 shooting keep alive the debate on when it's appropriate for Bryant to go on a scoring spree and when he should delegate, an argument that's become less of an issue with the Lakers' three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Kobe's new milestone also leads to the question: How many career points Bryant will end up with once he retires?

He currently ranks 12th on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 25,790 points in 1,021 games and still has a ways to go to catch up with league-leading Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who finished with 38,387 points in 1,560 games. It's possible for Bryant to surpass four players this season on the league-scoring list, including John Havlicek (26,395), Dominique Wilkins (26,668), Oscar Robertson (26,710) and Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946)  

The question arose last season when Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, and "Mr. Clutch" himself predicted the Black Mamba would finish with at least 30,000 points. That means West believes Bryant would at least finish fifth on the NBA's all-time scoring list, ahead of Shaquille O'Neal's current mark of 28,255 points. Something tells me Bryant's well aware of that ranking.

But would Bryant be able to eclipse any of the 30,000-point scorers? That includes Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). With Bryant's contract with the Lakers good through the 2013-14 season, it's far from definitive but wouldn't be a huge surprise if Bryant decided to hang up his laces then. But a lot could happen before then to affect Bryant's place in scoring history, starting with this season. Through nine games this season, Bryant's has averaged 25.3 points with a so-so 42.2% shooting percentage, and it shouldn't be surprising that this follows a four-season pattern in which his scoring rate has dropped. It went from 2,832 points in the 2005-06 season to 2,430 in 2006-07, 2,323 in 2007-08, 2,201 in 2008-09 and 1,970 in 2009-10.

57575253

HoopData shows that, with his fractured right index finger, sprained right knee and sprained left ankle last season, a greater percentage of Bryant's shots were blocked, he finished with fewer and-ones and made fewer shots at the rim, dropping from 66% in the 2008-09 season to 58.6% during the 2009-10 season. But the four-season decline in scoring also speaks to Bryant's improved supporting cast, including Fisher and Pau Gasol, with greater reliability from Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Plus, Bryant missed nine games last season after playing all 82 games from 2007 to 2009.

Assuming Bynum returns soon after Thanksgiving, as expected, and the team continues to pace Bryant so he feels 100% with his surgically repaired right knee, it's not a stretch to predict Bryant will hover around 25 to 27 points per game. If he manages to play 82 games through the 2013-14 season, that means Bryant would score from 2,050 to 2,214 points each year, bringing his career total to 34,010 to 34,666 career points, putting him in third place, one spot ahead of Jordan and one spot behind Malone.

Should the NBA fail to reach a new collective-bargaining agreement, resulting in a lost or delayed 2011-12 season, that would throw all type of wrenches into Bryant's scoring quest. Both good and bad. Bryant would lose those games and his chance to increase that scoring clip, but it would give him more time to rest his assorted injuries and possibly even enable him to have surgery on his right index finger. It's not a stretch to predict Bryant's scoring rate would jump after that, although it's hard to say whether that would be enough to offset points lost due to a lockout.

So with all those variables in mind, how many points do you think Bryant will end up with? I'll feature the varied responses in a Monday post.

-- Mark Medina

twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, is fouled by Denver guard Chauncy Billups during the first quarter of the Lakers' 118-112 road loss on Nov. 11, 2010. Credit: Rick Giase / EPA

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, goes up for a layup over Denver guard Chauncey Billups during the first quarter of the Lakers' 118-112 loss on Nov. 11, 2010. Credit: Chris Schneider/Associated Press.

 
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More than any Lakers' lifer we'll in our lifetime. The Mamba is

UNTOUCHABLE.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7VvG1exsgg

Being a student of the game, as Kobe is, I believe the phrase "winning longevity" will be his guideline. As Kareem's career extended with a winning Lakers team, so I think Kobe will evaluate his own professional arc.

Lakers keep winning (lock-out or not), and Kobe stays healthy (always a knock on wood, though his training routine is as rigorous as any who've played the game), Kobe will keep playing. Which means he'll keep scoring, and 30,000 will arrive, and whatever come after that. If the bottom falls out and Kobe's health is pinnacle, then I think he'll work a year or two trying to find traction, but if the team takes a dip, Kobe may consider hanging it up.

But... there's no reason he or the Lakers should stop their winning ways for years to come (another knock on the ol' wood).

Having been a rabid Laker fan since 1957, I have always held the Lakers team quests as most important. HOWEVER, in the past few years, I have become more and more enamored with watching the unbelievable talent that is Kobe Bryant. We will always be able to say 'I got to watch him live and saw Kobe's amazing talent', after years from now when he has settled in HOF as one of the greatest to ever play. I hate when the Lakers lose via playing poorly, as in the Denver game last Thursday. Now I try to watch the Lakers with one eye on their play as a team and the other is hoping for a big game by Kobe. So, if Kobe shoots well and has an efficient game with big numbers, then sometimes a poor performance loss by the rest of the Lakers can be a bit fogiven by me. I loved 81! I stood up like when I saw the Belmont with Secretariat live by 31 lengths! These will be wonders I take to the grave, along with the love my family has given me. I have tried to do some analysis of my own since 2005 and I have always thought that a reasonable pace for the remaining years puts him at #2. Much of it is instinct through watching him and his drive for 15 years. I believe he will stay long enough to get beyond Jordan, for many obvious reasons, although Kobe has not had the years of prime scorer that Jordan had ---- always, on the Bulls.


I think if Shaq had not been on the Lakers in his early years he would definitely pass Kareem.

This will make him jack up another 30 shots today. On this team he does not need that. The other players get more confidence if they can also score. Jacking up 30 shots is not good for this team.

Kobe will retire with around 35,000 points.
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What do we play for? RINGS!!!
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Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.
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GO LAKERS!!!

Keen Observer,

re: Kobe & his 30 shots. Do you know how many shots Kobe took in the 4th
quarter against Denver?

Lamar Odom in the news again. This could be a major distraction to the upsurge we witnessed lately on Lamar. What is really going on with his previous family in NY? are they still part of Larmar's life?

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/lamar-odom-los-angeles-lakers-in-baby-mama-drama-111410

38,387+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

38,387+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

i hope Kobe will shoot 48 shots per game and 10 for overtime.

looking forward for triple-overtime games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by the way, i'm sure he will have a last punch for Malone

Hobbit, that is not the point at all. Taking that many shots takes a lot away from this team. This team is good enough that he does not need to take that many shots, especially when he is shooting way below 50%. He should go back to being the play maker that he was earlier in the season.

He will finish between 33,000 - 37,000. Maybe more if he keeps healthy.

this contract kobe can achieve #4 on the list. Playing to 40, is that possible drop it to 15 a game fron 36 on, he could be on Kareems shoulder...It would

wouldn't suprise me if Kobe goes all time high

especially if he puts it up like he should, as ouuuuuch says

I think the new supporting cast will help him stay healthier, and more efficient

Justa for the win!

BTW - it's only a keen observation if no one else really notices it.

@congrats to Lew and all the Manny fans.

@Justa – Congrats for a well deserved RCOTD.

@NewMexLL – Bad news is it was a tough season for the Vikes. Good news is no Childress or Brett next year.

@I hearned that – chemistry beats biology…lol. I don’t know about it beating biology but it definitely pounded on me in HS.

@Zaira – Peace is always a beautiful thing. Wake Up is definitely a classic with timeless lyrics.

@Lew – Another good Laker/Beatle selection. I think that’s six down and four to go!

@Jefe – lol.

@Heh8meN1 – Unstoppable indeed!

@63 Footer & Nuggets Country - excellent observations!

Hello All.

I purposely stayed away from blogging while the Lakers were still undefeated. While I had business to deal with, I just felt I didn't want to jinx it.

As for Kobe, I agree that his knowledge, work ethic and ability to adapt his game makes it his decision on how far he wants to take it.

Rings First, Records Second has and will continue to be his Motto!

Now! To catch up on the past few games.

MM has five things to take from a game, here's my three from the last thre games:

1. Gasol looks like he's reverted back to 2008 Finals mode. Especially in the Denver game. No muscle, no call. Instead of going strong to the hoop, he's Euro Flopping!

I don't think it's a stretch to say that over the last few years of his time in the NBA Kobe will continue at a clip of about 25 ppg. With that said (and assuming there's no lockout next season), I believe Kobe will end with about 33,500 points. That will put him ahead of Jordan, although he will still rank only 3rd all-time. The only way he surpasses Malone and Jabbar is if he plays AT LEAST until the age of 38 assuming, again that he will average 25 ppg, which is much harder at that age. In actuality, he will probably have to play at least until he's 40 if he has some significant drop off in scoring.

Trianulagtor, I can see that....he did look soft a bit, but in the lack of big bench, are he and LO both playing to stay out of foul trouble a bit too?

For some unknown reason my post didn't include points 2 and 3...

2. Matador D isn't Championship D! No Defensive Communication the Past 3 Games!

3. Lack of Offensive Movement in the Triangle (especially 4th quarter of Denver game). Simple Rule of Physics: A Body that Stays in Motion Remains in Motion. They just stood around relying on their great shooting this season. Not Good!
__________________________________________________

Traingle Physics: For Every Defensive Reaction, There is a Greater and More Lethal Offensive Reaction!

Go Lakers!!!!!!

Not too long after the Lakers signed Blake and Barnes, I commented multiple times that we should call the bench (even with Kobe and/or Bynum playing with them) the "Killer Bees". No one seemed interested, but apparently the Lakers have taken a shine to it (without accreditation).

Here's one such post from July:

"I still say we've found the basketball version of the Killer Bees (Early 2nd Quarter/Late 3rd Quarter Unit):

Bryant/Brown
Blake
Barnes
Bynum

With LO as "The Fifth Beatle"...
_____________________________________________________

GO LAKERS!!!!!! ONE, TWO, THREE-PEAT TO THE SECOND POWER!!!!!!
Posted by: The Triangulator | July 27, 2010 at 10:39 PM"

I must be psychic or psycho!

I'm sure I'll get comments on this comment though... LOL
_________________________________________

Triangle Physics: For Every Defensive Reaction, There is a Greater and More Lethal Offensive Reaction! The Triangulator

Go Lakers!!!!!!

At an absolute minimum (and I mean even if he's playing with dengue fever and a cast on his broken shooting arm and using a walker) I believe he won't hang it up until he passes Shaq. His actual (and realistic) goal if he just stays healthy, edging past Jordan (32,292 + 1). And that means not just more career goals but also at least one more ring (6+1) than Jordan got.

Bottom line: the Lakers are going to have 18 NBA banners (Celtics' 17+1) hanging in the rafters at Staples by the time Kobe's jersey is placed up there. The greatest player AND team of all time. Yeah, I'd bet the farm on that.

There's no way Kobe retires before 38. No way.
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For the rest of his career that's he should average above 1,000 points a season... conservatively.
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That puts him around 33,000 points.
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I think he'll have more output than this conservative estimate and he'll retire with a little more than 35,000 points at the age of 39.
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What do we play for? RINGS!!!
-
Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.
-
GO LAKERS!!!

I Think its real stupid of the lakers to get rid off the 2 rookies when we can keep them hello big bay=by davis owns lamar when it counts and caracters body mass can match up with him at least he was like the lakers big baby and as for ebanks hes an underpaid ariza and by the way ariza overrated lol but we give them away and keep sasha vujacic which is garbage only makes a one 3 pointer every 8 games hes boring who cares if hes coo with kobe ,im sure he wont mind but i dont know im just a loyal fan like my dad is and how his dad was aswell and the lakers keep luke walton Oh my God what a tragedy id take ebanks over him any day i know his dad is the reason hes in the nba and the lakers for all we know c,mon now no one else would want him anyway im just saying we waste money on luke walton and sasha vujacic shit we coulda paid for iverson in bring more hype but i guess those guys are good ball players in phils eyes

wow......talk about being over hyped kobe bryant...ill be surprised if he can get to 30,000 with the way pau gasol is playing..he is going to be the finals mvp if lakers win (just like he should hae been last year)

Kobe will play five more years and average 25.1, 26.3, 24.8, 23.3, 23.4, and 22.8 points a season. That should net him just over 11,000 points and surpass Karl Malone. Even if he just a little shy of Karl Malone he could stay and average 19 or 20 for two seasons and easily surpass Jabbar. Throw in 2 or 3 more championships and he will be considered the greatest for his longevity and superior accomplishments!!! Don't discount this! He will always be able to get to free throw line. As long as he continues shooting between 85% and 90%at the line, he will always be scoring.

I agree, Gasol is the MVP so far for the Lakers,

I also see the defenses have adjusted to it...exposing his weakness(tough physical play

Mamba's not quite there yet, so has been unable to make up for the weakness, as is the Laker norm...Gasol is not a serious thought for league mvp....without his go to mamba, his weakness surfaces

Seriously, you have Durant, even J. Wall, doing it too...Gasol shines bright, but The Black Mamba makes him glisten

A Gasoless trade, and Boston is separating from us....bottom line...we need Pau, but without team play and defense who wins.....

Kobe will play five more years and average 25.1, 26.3, 24.8, 23.3, and 22.8 points a season. That should net him just over 11,000 points and surpass Karl Marlone. Even if he was just shy of KARL, he could stay and average 19 or 20 for two seasons and easily surpass Jabbar. Throw in 2 or 3 more championships and he will be considered the greatest for his longevity and superior accomplishments!!! Don't discount this! He will always be able to get to the free throw line. As long as he continues shooting between 85% and 90% at the line, he will always be scoring. Long live the Mamba - Greatest Of All Time!!!!!!!!!!!!

He has the ability to take the all-time scoring record, but he did just recently comment that he would retire when he isn't able to beat guys that are younger than him. So it is going to be tough for him, especially because he doesn't have to score as much with the team he has around him.

For sure kobe will be the all time scoring leader!!! As of this time he has 27k plus points at the age of 31,. if he will average at least 24 points for minimum of 70 games per season in the next 7 years then he can accumulate almost 11700 points putting him 300 ponts more than kareem, not to say he will still be playing at 40 years of age, averaging 15-18 points...lol he can even reach 40k..!!! kobe is the scoring machine!!!!..lebron can make it also if he does not leave cleveland...!durant can make it 33-36k!

i think that kobe will score about 36000 to 37500 points it depends what he averages per game if he could get a few m0re 40 or 50 point games then he will maybe score about 38ooo points he scored 41 points in a celtics game in febuary thursday 10 of 2011 so i think kobe could be the number 1 all time scorer but he has to average about 24 to 26 points per game o and (LAKERS ARE GOING FOR THE 3 PEAT)


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