Kobe Bryant’s Success Against Different Opponents and Throughout His Career
I want to do some quick and broad data exploration to see if Kobe is a better shooter against certain opponents.
I need to take a look at the important variable first, kobe$shot_made_flag.
There are a lot of NAs in there, that will make this difficult so I am just going to ignore them for this analysis, I don’t think it can make a huge difference in the final analysis.
So, I’ve got what I need now. A smaller dataframe with just the opponents name and Kobe’s shooting percentage against them. I want to add a little extra analysis, so I am going to create a vector that lists the conferences of each opponent. There’s not an easy way to do this, so I will just do it by hand.
Looks good so let’s plot. I want this to be plotted in order of best shooting percentage to worst shooting percentage. I am also going to add in a horizontal line indicating Kobe’s overall shooting percentage, which is 43.9%.
So there’s something interesting. Kobe shoots better against the Western conference than the Eastern Conference. That may be an interesting feature to use.
I also want to see if Kobe really declined near the end of his career. I know that he tore his Achilles and missed a lot of time. Again, I’m adding a line to indicate Kobe’s lifetime shooting percentage.
Yeah, it’s pretty clear that Kobe was really consistent for a long period of time. He was a very consistent shooter from 1996 to 2013-2014. The last three years were ugly with his shooting percentage doropping pretty significantly near the end.
Here’s a quick data table to show that decline in a different format.
Those last three years are pretty brutal. 40.6%, 37.6%, and 35.6%. Much lower than Kobe was used to. He knew he was in terminal decline and decided to retire.