Kobe Bryant is on defense after the Lakers new head coach criticized the superstar guard’s effort on the defensive side of the ball.
Though Bryant is still putting up the same stellar offensive numbers that have been the norm throughout his career, his defense has been lacking at times this year. While he did a good job on Sunday night against Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, coach Mike D’Antoni has been critical of Kobe Bryant’s on-ball defense, SLAM magazine noted.
The problem comes when Kobe Bryant is asked to play help defense, SLAM added:
“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.’ “
D’Antoni said he had a plan for Kobe Bryant on defense, the Los Angeles Times noted. Bryant would continue to guard point guards, though D’Antoni wasn’t sure if Kobe would try to handle Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis on Tuesday night.