A History Of Kobe Bryant And Lakers Season Openers

If you want to feel old, simply remind yourself of the fact that Tuesday night will mark the beginning of Kobe Bryant's 15th season in the NBA. No player has ever played in 15 seasons for the Lakers, with only Kobe, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor playing in 14 seasons for the franchise.

Bryant has been healthy enough to play in 10 of the previous 14 season openers for the Lakers, and in those games the Lakers are 8-2.

Kobe Bryant in season openers
Year Opp Dec Min FG-A FT-A 3pt-A Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk TO PF
1997-98 Utah W 33 5-13 13-14 0-2 23 3 5 1 0 1 1
1999 Hou W 44 8-21 7-9 2-3 25 10 2 2 3 2 4
2000-01 @Por W 35 4-11 6-6 0-1 14 2 2 1 1 7 4
2001-02 Por W 43 11-24 6-8 1-1 29 7 4 3 1 2 0
2002-03 SA L 43 9-29 8-12 1-2 27 10 5 4 2 6 3
2004-05 Den W 42 5-14 14-15 1-2 25 4 7 1 3 4 2
2005-06 @Den W 44 13-28 7-7 0-1 33 5 4 1 2 6 4
2007-08 Hou L 43 13-32 18-27 1-3 45 8 4 4 1 5 4
2008-09 Por W 33 9-17 4-5 1-1 23 11 5 1 0 5 3
2009-10 LAC W 38 11-26 11-12 0-1 33 8 3 4 1 2 2
Totals 8-2 398 88-215 94-115 7-17 277 68 41 22 14 40 27
Averages .800 39.8 40.9% 81.7% 41.2% 27.7 6.8 4.1 2.2 1.4 4.0 2.7

Over on the Lakers' blog Silver Screen and Roll, Dexter Fishmore tabbed Bryant's turnover rate as a particular statistic to watch this season:

Kobe Bryant's Turnover Rate. This isn't the biggest deal in the world, but Kobe became a shade more turnover-prone last season. For every 100 plays he used, he coughed the ball up more than 11 times, after doing so less than 10 times per 100 plays in 2008-09. It amounts to about one extra turnover for every two games played.

My first thought was to blame his injured finger, which did seem to affect his handle at times, but it turns out his 2008-09 turnover rate is the outlier here. His numbers from last season are right in line with his career average. So really, we shouldn't expect big variation one way or another, but if his turnover habits continue to worsen, it'll be a mildly alarming indicator that something's amiss.

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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