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We Lakers fans that don't wear blinders have known this to be true for years. Saying that Kobe's attention to defense waxes and wanes would be generous. He only focuses in on that end for about 5 minutes towards the end of close games, or if someone has personally challenged him and he's pissed off. Otherwise, you'll see a lot of half-assed close outs, missed rotations, and attempts to take shortcuts over off-the-ball screens. Perhaps the most annoying thing about it all, to me, is that when he blows a defensive assignment, there's a good chance he'll give a teammate an exasperated look, as if it was his fault that Kobe blew his defensive assignment.
When Kobe focuses, he is truly outstanding. But he can only do that for short bursts these days, and those bursts come fewer and farther in between.
3 years ago on Understanding Advanced Stats: The Difficulty Of Defense