Kobe Bryant and the 20-Shot Effect: Is It Really His Fault When the Lakers Lose?

December 30th, 2010 by Kelly Scaletta Leave a reply »
There has been notice paid to the fact that the Lakers have a losing record this season when Kobe Bryant takes more than 20 shots. It's an easy thing to simply say that the reason the Lakers lose then is that Kobe is taking too many shots, but is it accurate?

I consider that there are three possible explanations to account for this. First, it is the effectual cause, i.e. when Kobe Bryant is taking too many shots, he's shooting them out of games. Second, it is incidental, meaning it is the opposite correlation. The Lakers are losing so Kobe is trying to shoot them back into games. The third possibility is that it's purely coincidental. The two events happen together, but there's no correlation. 

In order to determine which it is I viewed the game logs and shot charts of each of the 15 games in which he has shot over 20 shots.

If 15 or more shots were taken by Kobe before the fourth quarter and the Lakes were losing, I marked it with an "L" under "Factor," meaning that Kobe's shooting was a major factor in the loss. I chose 15 because that means he was on pace to shoot 20 through three quarters, and it is therefore not a factor of him try ...

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