Friday Afternoon Reading

Darius Soriano —  March 11, 2011

Last night’s game has stuck with some folks into today. That tends to happen when a very winnable game turns into a loss and the opponent is of the marquee variety. And while I don’t want to dwell too much longer on last night’s contest – especially with a much more important game, strategically, tomorrow in Dallas – below is some afternoon reading to get you through the rest of your day. Enjoy.

First up, Myles Brown has a strong take on Kobe’s performance down the stretch of last night’s game that is worth a read. There’s no sugar coating here, but understand that a lot of what he says hits home. An excerpt:

Kobe Bryant wants to win. This is inarguable. What’s equally clear is that Kobe wants to win his way. It’s an attitude borne of preternatural ability and competitiveness, yet more importantly, a viewership enamored with legend making. We thirst for iconic performances; signature moments of athletic excellence which make our eyes bulge and time stand still. With every crossover, reverse pivot and nimble fadeaway, Kobe etches himself deeper into our consciousness. Every injury he dutifully trudges through, every buzzer he beats and every ring he collects carves another feature on Rushmore. One or two more and some may dare to say that he’s supplanted a deity.

There’s much more worth reading there, so go check out the whole thing  as Brown does a good job of looking closely and critically at Kobe and the dichotomy that can exist in his game and approach.

Next up, we’ve all read a lot about the Lakers’ new and improved defensive scheme. And while we’ve seen it in action during the games, we’ve not yet seen a breakdown of it that combines pictures, video, and easy to follow explanations.

Well, that’s what Sebastian Pruiti is here for. In his piece over at SB Nation, he dives into the Lakers’ new technique at defending the P&R with great examples of what other teams do and how that differs from what the Lakers are now doing. A snippet:

Despite being one of the better defensive teams in the NBA this season, the Los Angeles Lakers and their coaching staff felt that it was necessary that they change how their team defended the pick-and-roll, catering more to Andrew Bynum and his skill set….Basically, the Lakers have determined that they don’t want Bynum showing hard on pick-and-rolls, opting to have him hang around the middle, with the rest of the defense funneling the play to him in the paint. The result is more midrange jumpers with the defense being able to contest threes and keep point guards out of the lane. The midrange jumpers are not troubling since the Lakers have determined that they want their opponents taking those shots, because who excels at that anyway?

Go check out the entire thing and get smarter about what the Lakers are doing on D so you can impress your friends when you explain the difference bettween a hard and soft show and how the Lakers have abandoned blitzing ball handlers.

Darius Soriano

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