I've said it repeatedly over the last few years: Kobe Bryant, while unquestionably capable
of being a top-notch defender, is often
lazy on defense. And every time I say this, I get branded a "Kobe Hater" who doesn't know what he's talking about.
Well, Tex Winter -- who, for the record, is one of Kobe's coaches
-- agrees with me
. Winter believes that Kobe doesn't play "a lot of basically sound defense," and that Kobe has been "saving energy on defense" by "playing a lot of one-man zone...doing a lot of switching, zoning up, trying to come up with the interception." Winter then concludes that Kobe's defensive deficiencies are, indeed, affecting the Lakers. And not in a good way.
I was once told by a man with a mustache that I'm not as qualified to rate Kobe's defense as coaches who get a chance to watch him play every night. Well, it now appears that a coach who does
watch Kobe play every night shares my opinion.
That sound you just heard...was checkmate.
[From the LakerNoise
blog, via TrueHoop
]In this book, Tex discusses the kind of sounddefensive techniques Kobe doesn't use.
(For the record, Kobe Bryant also
agrees with Basketbawful, at least with regards to the MVP race. I once stated that, in the absence of definitive MVP criteria, voters are forced to go on prededent. And the precedent is clear
: the MVP must be on one of the best teams in the league. Well, wouldn't you know it, Kobe recently said
that he doesn't merit MVP consideration because the award should go to a player on a team with one of the NBA's best records. Said Kobe: "You have to honor that. When we get to that point, then maybe I'll get some consideration." And hey, this is from a man who doesn't just get to watch Kobe play every night, he gets to be
Kobe every night. So I guess I'll just have to take his word for it.)Edit:
Unable to admit that he was wrong, Mr. Mustache
is making the ridiculous claim that I took Tex Winter's quotes about Kobe's defense out of context. Uh...what? Here's the full text of Winter's quotes (again, this is from the LakerNoise
blog):The main message that Winter, a Lakers consultant, would like to get across to Bryant is that the problem is not his offense."I’d like to see him play better defense," Winter said, adding that he had addressed the issue recently with Bryant but didn't come away with the idea that Bryant was intent on changing his approach."You know Kobe," Winter said with a chuckle. "He has his game plan. I think he heard me. But he feels there's a certain way he’s got to play the game. But it doesn’t involve a lot of basically sound defense."Because the Lakers need so much of his effort at the offensive end, Bryant has adopted a save-energy plan on the defensive end, Winter said. "He's basically playing a lot of one-man zone. He's doing a lot of switching, zoning up, trying to come up with the interception."The way Kobe plays defensively affects the team," Winter added. "Anybody that doesn’t play consistently good defense hurts the team. That's not only Kobe. Our other guards tend to gamble and get beat. Another problem is that the screen and roll is not played correctly."
Hard to see how I could have possibly misintrepreted Winter's comments or taken them out of context. I don't care if the rest of the article is a comparison of Kobe and Michael Jordan. All of that has to do with offense
. This post is specifically addressing my assessment of Kobe's defense, which is often lazy. According to his coach, my evaluation was one the money, and Kobe Lovers (or at least one in particular) cannot or will not admit that.
I mean I have quotes -- direct quotes -- from one of his coaches
. And Tex Winter is considererd one of the great basketball scholars of our time. I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about. Trying to claim I'm taking his quotes out of context really only makes you look stupid.
Labels: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Tex Winter