The Los Angeles Lakers have started the 2015-16 NBA season with a 2-9 record and currently rank as the third least efficient offense in the league, per NBA.com. Part of the problem is that Kobe Bryant has led the team in usage rate among players who have appeared in more than one game (28.3) while putting up historically inefficient statistics (33.6% from the field and 23.3% from three) in his 20th and likely final season.
Despite this mounting evidence that Bryant is no longer as effective of a player as he once was, Lakers head coach Byron Scott still seems much more comfortable relying on Bryant than other players on the team's roster. "Having Kobe out there helps," Scott told Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times. "[The Lakers' offense] was a lot more settled, and it was obvious to me, watching the Detroit game and then watching us against Phoenix. When he was out there, the offense, it ran more smoothly."
The numbers (kind of) back up Scott's point: the Lakers' average 97.5 points per 100 possessions, and with Bryant on the floor that number climbs to 98 points per 100 possessions. That may not seem like much, but it is also the best offensive rating among the team's normal starters. Despite his struggles, Bryant also has the best defensive rating and net rating out of the Lakers' starters. So despite his shooting leaving something to be desired:
So far this year, 41 players have tried at least 100 jumpers; 40 of them have shot better than Kobe Bryant (29%) pic.twitter.com/GffXmQWVvp
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) November 19, 2015
Scott can reasonably make an argument that the team has been better with Bryant on the floor at times. However, given Bryant's inefficiency and high usage, it is also hard not to believe that those numbers could improve even further if the team distributed its offense a bit more evenly.
All statistics from NBA.com