Currently in the middle of the list of all-time shittiest Trash Heap seasons.
How to explain the historical crappiness of this Kobe season? Well, Kobe is on pace to shoot the ball between 800 and 1200 times this year (depending upon injury and whether he ever develops a conscience) If he reaches 1200 shot attempts and shoots his current 30%, or so, he will be performing at a level of inefficiency not seen since the late 1940s or early 1950s. In fact, only Joe Fulks has seasons where he shot the ball so many times and had such a low percentage. Of course. When Fulks shot 30-33%, that was far closer to league average.
Kobe has negative 0.8 Win Shares and falling. Assuming he can manage to keep up this level of terrible play for the rest of the year (doubtful, but possible) he could register around 3 NEGATIVE Win Shares. No player in NBA ABA or BAA history has ever registered negative 3 win shares. Woody Sauldsberry had a year where he shot .299 and .560 from the line and registered negative 2.8 WS. It is conceivable that Kobe (4-19 last night) could do worse in FG% and WS. Woody played during the Kennedy Administration.
The names that start to come up when you start to estimate a Kobe season continuing on are frightening - Flynn, Beasley, Tskita, Donte Greene, DeShawn Stevenson, Marc Macon. And a whole bunch of guys who played before the Korean War.
But even put to one side the shocking awfulness of Kobe's stats. Let's consider what is going on in L.A. A future Hall of Fame player is playing 33+ mpg a night, taking minutes from highly drafted younger players and also drawing $25m per year. He is shooting a historically low percentage and yet he continues to shoot and the coach continues to play him and he is helping the Lakers draft lottery chances. Yet there is no chance he gets traded and, at least it appears, no chance of having his minutes cut going forward.
There are two HOF players in the Hall at least partially for their pro play (Ralph Sampson and Joe Fulks) who have registered at least 2 seasons with negative win shares. Kobe has one such season already and he is headed for #2. Fulks was an early pioneer of the game, and, if reports on line are accurate, probably a top 100 all-time player. Sampson is not close to a too 100 all-time player. Kobe, however, is my #18 and his fans suggest a top 10 or even top 5 status.
In light of Kobe's place in the history of the game, it is astounding that no one will step forward and say "you should not be doing this - get out" or "I am not playing you anymore" or even "I am going to stop passing you the ball". But no one has, and it appears no one will. So we are about to see the weirdest (and perhaps worst) season ever played