When given a media platform yesterday in L.A., Robert Horry ripped Kobe Bryant, specifically for his performance on the defensive end of the floor.
[See Big Shot Rob’s place on the list of 10 Important NBA Records That Could Soon be Broken]
Speaking at the 9th annual “All-Access” event at the Staples Center, this is what Horry had to say about The Mamba:
(From the L.A. Times)
“[When] Kobe is on the weak side, he needs to start paying attention to where the ball is and not be flying around, thinking he’s some stealth bomber where he can get steals nonstop,” said Horry.
The Lakers (17-21) have struggled this season as a team to play defense, and Horry put a sizable share of the blame on Bryant.
“That’s the only reason you won two games, you solved the problem,” continued Horry, speaking of Bryant’s move to covering point guards Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Rob’s not wrong. Kobe’s off-ball defense has been pretty bad for most of the season. On top of the gambling that Horry references, Kobe also seems to be consistently getting beat on back-door cuts and has had issues rotating out on his man on the perimeter. It’s been a significant part of why the Lakers’ biggest problem – horrid perimeter defense – has undermined them all season long.
But Rob’s also right about what happens when Kobe is turned loose on the other team’s best perimeter player, given lock-down instructions. When his focus is erasing a young gun from that game, Kobe is still a beast. The glaring problem – which is pretty clear to Mike D’Antoni since it took him so long to start using Kobe in this fashion – is that there’s no way it is sustainable given Bryant’s load on the offensive end of the floor.
Bryant is a physical freak; possibly one of the toughest, most well-conditioned professional athletes in the world. He’s 34 years old and has many, many miles on his legs after playing in more than 1,400 games. Before we even get into being able to wrap up youngsters like Kyrie and Jennings, what Bryant is able to do on the offensive end of the floor every single night, specifically over the last few years, is nothing short of astounding.
Even with that “S” on his chest though, how long can it realistically last with Kobe pulling double duty before his body really breaks down? It’s a desperate play made in desperate times.
Follow Patrick Cassidy on Twitter
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook