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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 9:30 am  |  22 responses

Mike D’Antoni Struggles to Compliment Kobe Bryant’s Defense


Despite the gaudy offensive numbers, Kobe Bryant has struggled mightily on the defensive end this season — at times, he has been atrocious on that end of the floor. Bryant did step it up on Sunday night against Kyrie Irving. While complimenting Kobe’s willingness to guard folks 1-on-1, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni had trouble admiring his off-the-ball defense. Per the OC Register and LA Daily News: “Bryant held Irving to 15 points, well below his 23.6 scoring average, which helped hold the Cavs averaging only 41.1 percent shooting from the floor. ‘He disrupts the whole offense on the ball,’ Coach Mike D”Antoni said. ‘He’s done that a couple of games. We’ll continue to milk that one.’ Bryant, whose on-ball defense has earned him All-Defensive team honors, is expected to split his time guarding Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings when the Bucks visit Staples Center on Tuesday. However, Bryant’s off-ball defense doesn’t quite match the intensity when he is focused on the ball. When D’Antoni was asked about Bryant’s off-ball defense on Monday, he tried to find the right complimentary tone then gave up. ‘Umm, it’s good … You know. I think sometimes he just … You know … Umm … Yeah, it’s good,’ he said, laughing. [...] Bryant didn’t speak to reporters following Monday’s practice. After the Lakers’ win over Cleveland, though, Bryant touted what his on-ball defense will provide to a team that ranks 26th in total defense (101.87 points per game). ‘I got to get to the frontlines and start to do a better job defensively and play with a lot more energy defensively,’ Bryant said. ‘Hopefully, it trickles down to everybody else.’”

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  • Bored

    who cares anymore?? same thing over and over. great, his off-ball D is sh*t…maybe they should start thinking of a way to make his off-ball D irrelevant by i dont know… utilising their defensive anchor Dwight Howard. he is 34 and averaging 30 points a game! just let him be an offensive threat. how can his off-ball D be their biggest problem?

  • K_HOLIDAY

    What dahell does Mike D’antoni know about defense??? Thats like a house cat telling a lion how to hunt!!! Dont know how D’antoni’s defense was as a player, but he damn sure doesnt focus on it as a coach!!! Come up with some defensive principles for your team and learn to manage a game defensively (like implementing changes on the go to give you a better chance of winning) and then you can call players out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    The problem is that Kobe plays horrible off-ball D a majority of the time, which adds extra pressure on Dwight, and often leads to the other team scoring. He often ball watches on the perimeter, which gives his man the freedom to literally cut to the basket whenever he wants and get an easy bucket. Worse, he acts exasperated at his team when this happens even though its his own fault. He’s doing great on O, yes, but he’s been giving about a 25% effort on off-ball defense, and even that comes in spurts.

  • Bored

    yeah i know its a problem. the part where i said it was sh*t.

    they got much bigger issues though. can you not see that?

  • Max

    Well turnovers is their biggest problem.
    Defense their second.

  • Bored

    i think chemistry is definitely their biggest problem. thats a very general thing to say i know but everything that goes with that like turnovers, defense and consistent offense. this blaming Kobe’s D thing is getting old though. he was winning chips (last 2) with pretty close to the same defensive rating, so acting like its making the team lose is ridiculous. the rest of the team needs to get their ass into gear. also they need to move some pieces around, trade wise…that bench is sh*t house!!!

  • Hursty

    His off-ball defense this year has been sh*t-house, and everybody knows it. It’s been slipping since the Lakers became a championship contender (08 season onwards), but it’s horrible now. His on-ball defense isn’t bad, but he gets lazy stepping around screens and lock-and-trailing guys.
    I don’t really have a bias towards or against the Lakers, so I have no reason to lie or slander Bryant. Just how I see it.

  • Shifty

    I really don’t know how the coaches named him all defensive first team 9 times. There have been other guards out there in the past that surely deserved his placements?

  • spit hot fiyah

    he still can when he wants to

  • Max

    It goes both ways, bad chemistry = playing bad or playing bad = bad chemistry.
    But yeah, the overall talent level is pretty weak.

  • yee

    to be fair, it’d be hard for kobe to compliment d’antoni’s defense as well.

  • Kadavour

    Kobe played Kyrie better than any i’ve seen in a while. He picked him up at half court, hurried him, made him uncomfortable, and Kyrie just wasn’t allowed to get into sets. His best hope was the pick and roll which the Lakers covered well with Earl Clarke. I almost didn’t recognize the team with how well they played defensively. If this defensive effort means Kobe takes 5 less shots and averages 21-25 for the rest of season and the Lakers win, i say this team is scary. Kobe did take 2 contested triple threat 3PT jumpers though. Those shots won’t go in 75% of the time like they did against the Cavs. Let’s see how this works for a couple more games if they do continue this way.

  • LakeShow

    Hence, why you are fair, and 100% correct.

  • LakeShow

    Haha, well said D’Antoni…

    I’m glad people are distinguishing the difference on his defense. (1 on 1 vs off the ball)

    I’m tired of all these morons talking about how Kobe “doesn’t play a lick of defense.”

    Just idiodic…

    He plays well on the ball. He is above average on the ball against some players. Off the ball he has been sh*t… You know it, I know it, sounds like KB finally know’s it.

    I expect a change very soon. End of the month this team should be rolling if they all stay healthy.

  • shockexchange

    Does anyone else notices how the more talent Horry Jr has around him, the more “competitive” he gets, the bigger “winner” he is, and the better he is defensively?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rainman1991 Saleem Rainman

    thats half the fking game. He’ll either be expending energy and taking energy away from his offence by picking up the guy with the ball ALL the time on defence(to make up for his horrible off Ball D) or he’s gonna be playing off the ball Defence, and SUCK at it. If he’s bad at that, he’s bad at half the fking game. To say “just let him be an offensive threat” and to question how his off ball D can be the biggest problem is to ignore half the game of basketball. Come on man…

  • Bored

    you are kidding right? you think half of Kobe’s game is his D?? or are you saying, half of the game of basketball is dedicated to offense and the other half defense? lol. his bad off ball D is not costing half his pruduction!! and you think there isnt any other offensive players out there who neglect off ball D??

    im saying, relying on Kobe’s off ball D as a reason for the team losing is stupid. this notion that he is still meant to be the best is crazy. that he has an all round game like he once had. he hasnt played off ball D in years. this isnt even his worst defensive year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rainman1991 Saleem Rainman

    hmm, reply didnt work (so if this is a repost, thats why)

    I meant its half of the game of basketball.

    Why do you think relying on Kobe’s off ball D as a reason for the team losing is stupid? Have u watched the games? he gives up like 10 points off of layups/ dunks just cuz he isnt sticking to his man but trying to play the passing lanes. How many close games have they lost as of late? Subtract those 10 unecessary points given to the other team, and i think ur looking at a win. Its simple math.Did you watch the San Antonio game in particular? How many times did Ginobili Get wide open slams cuz Kobe wasnt sticking to one of the best finishing 2 guards in the L? Do u remember that Slam on sacre manu had? yeah. That materialized because Kobe wasnt paying any attention.

    “He hasnt played off ball D in years”- and thats okay with you? If he hasnt been playing off ball D in years, he might as well stay on the oppositions side of the court and cherry pick all game. Thats like a serial killer saying “i’ve been murdering people for years.” Would you accept that, and just be like “Well Golly, that just must be the way he is.” ?Cuz Kobe’s ridiculous off ball defence is a repeat offence, killing the Lakers chances of a win regularly.

  • Bored

    ok so 10 points he is giving up a game through off-ball D?? not a real stat. and on average it wouldnt be that. not sure if you are aware of his points FOR on the offensive end but surely the points he gets for them make his sh*t off-ball D irrelevant.

    BUT if you are happy blaming the Lakers losing on Kobe’s off-ball D then thats up to you. i dont agree. i also think its absurd to do so also. lets agree to disagree because i have a feeling im not even gonna sway you off your opinion.

  • Luminous Music

    “Off-ball defense” – guarding players who do not have the ball, yes? (Excuse my ignorance but does anyone have a better definition?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rainman1991 Saleem Rainman

    We can agree to disagree, but that doesnt change the fact that im right, and that you are wrong.

  • Bored

    ohh my bad i thought you were saying that his off ball D was THE reason they were losing. you are just saying its a big one. i say
    their are bigger issues and Kobe’s lack of effort is due to him being fed up with the rest of the teams ability to help him win games.

    they are being coached by D’Antoni now, which means its all about who gets the most points for the game hence why they are ranked 4 in ponts and 6 in offensive rating in the L. its all relative to the teams playing style not because defense is half of the game of basketball. some teams rely more or defense and some rely more on offense. thats the difference between what you are saying and what im saying. i dont care if you think im wrong because im bemused by the fact that you are able to blame a team losing on one player. i think thats wrong. and crazy!

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