Message Board Battles; Lakers: Is Kobe the Problem on Defense?

Kobe-Bryant poor defense

In our first edition of Message Board Battles: Lakers, we found a member of the Lakersnation Forum make an argument that it is Kobe Bryant that is the main culprit in the Lakers defensive woes this season.

Hayter states:

i think we need a compilation of clips that show how horrible the defense is and see who it is that should be blamed for their horrible defense.

WTF kobe..  that was the worst help defense imaginable.

Hayter goes on to provide some video evidence:

It is obvious that in that particular play Kobe is lost defensively and appears to have lost sight of the ball.

Hayter shows a comparison of two clips from Tuesday’s Cleveland game to demonstrate his point that Kobe still has the ability to play defense, but just chooses to play the basketball equivalent of a free safety in football, roaming free on the court not guarding any player in particular for the chance at nabbing steals.

Here is Hayter’s example of Good Kobe Defense:

And his example of Bad Kobe Defense from the same game:

Hayter adds:

watch that second clip…  duhon playing solid defense..  gets beat..  howard comes to help..   kobe falls asleep..   watch the hill and artest come over the help… that is good defense by everyone but kobe..   i’m not saying you have to be the best defender in the world but can your leader give a little f’n effort and stop going on interviews wondering why they suck….

My handle on this message board site is Nanizm and my response was this:

Do you know how drained a player will be if he had to defend like that for 30-44 minutes a game? There is a reason why that the best individual perimeter defenders in the league are guys that arent involved much on offense and that is because of energy. Kobe is 34 and cant be the Lakers be all, end all offensively AND be their lock down defender. That being said, being a good help defender doesnt take that much energy, just focus and it wasnt there for Kobe in that clip.

Sometimes its hard to argue against visual evidence and in this case Hayter provides some pretty damning bits that supports his argument that Kobe is one of the main culprits in the Lakers defensive struggles.

The Lakers defensive problems go beyond Kobe Bryant but as the clips show he is definitely part of it. There is credence to my response that it would be unfair to expect that your main offensive weapon to not only carry the burden offensively, but play lock down defense like he did against Kyrie Irving in that one clip for the entire game. Still, basic help defense does not take much energy and what Kobe demonstrated in the two clips provided by Hayter were absolutely embarrassing and inexcusable.

These are just some of the problems that the Lakers will need to address and correct if they plan on righting the ship this season.

If you’d like to view, and possible even contribute to the conversation, the thread can be found at the Lakersnation forum.

– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern”

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