There was a time when Bryant was a legitimately outstanding defender, anchoring the Lakers' first Phil Jackson-coached dynasty as a true two-way terror. In the 1999-2000 regular season and the 2001 playoffs, the Lakers had a pair of the best team defensive showings ever with Bryant as their top wing defender. In the 2004 playoffs, L.A.'s defense was 12 points better per 100 possessions when Kobe was on the court. During that time, Bryant racked up five consecutive (and well-deserved) All-Defense nods, three of which placed him on the first team.
But from that point on, there hasn't been a lot of evidence suggesting that Bryant has even been a good defender, much less one of the NBA's best.
In 2004-05, Kobe logged 40.7 minutes per game for one of the 40 worst defensive teams in league history, with the Lakers' defense somehow getting 2.4 points worse when he was on the floor. That touched off an eight-year stretch over which Bryant still garnered seven All-Defense selections despite the Lakers being little more than an average defensive team -- and actually playing one point per 100 possessions worse defensively with Bryant in the game.
While not exactly on the same level as Derek Jeter's host of ill-gotten Gold Gloves, Bryant's annual All-Defense recognition seems more and more like a legacy pick with each passing year. Adjusted plus/minus suggests he's no more than an average defender at this stage of his career, and at age 34 his best defensive days are likely in the rearview mirror. Bryant ranks among the NBA's all-time great players, and is still one of its best offensive threats, but his defensive impact has been overstated for years.Kobe is not a good defender, and hasn't been for a long time.
My posted article showed that during the years 03-09, Kobe was maybe the worst of the selected 20 top defensive players in the league, while getting 1st team All-Defense every year. CHeck it out next time you are on the computer... I think you just need a different browser than your iPhone one.
As for Phil, he is saying what I say all the time. Kobe plays for the big steal and dunk. He plays the passing lanes, while staying out of position and causing the entire defense to be out of balance. It's apparent from Phil's comments that he believes the voters had been duped into voting for Kobe out of his name recognition alone. I would find it hard for anyone to even argue that point.
The Spurs want to avoid the Grizzlies, who want to avoid the Clippers, who want to avoid the Thunder, who want to avoid the Warriors, who want to avoid the Nuggets, who want to avoid the Spurs.