While Kobe’s offense has stayed at a high level even in his 17th year in the league, his defense has been slipping for a while.
According to Steve Nash, Kobe needs to be challenged to step up his defensive efforts, so the Lakers are going to put more defensive responsibilities on his shoulders.
In the wake of Bryant’s outstanding effort against Irving, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has vowed to use the veteran guard in similar defensive situations.
“I think that really helped us,” D’Antoni said. “It helped us against the Clippers with Chris Paul. (Bryant) wants to take the challenge, and it really helps us.”
“That’s what worries me and that’s why I took a long time to put him there and that’s why, even now, I still have some trepidation,” D’Antoni said. “But he’s taking the challenge. I told him his minutes got to go down — they got to go down. He doesn’t love that, but he’s willing to do anything to make us win.
“He’s always going to be focal point or the lightning rod of a lot of things here in Los Angeles. But I’ve only found a guy that wants to win and as a coach, I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”