it made sense for ariza/artest to guard the best players cuz they were better defenders (artest was…
jordan/nojordan
1

Yeah, I don’t disagree with that. Obviously reputation earned him some he otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. & I think your comparison of him then to LeBron now is accurate as well. & yeah, artest was no slouch offensively (& neither was ariza for that matter), I just meant that kobe was always going to take precedence on offense over basically anyone else. I’m sure the coaching staff (& kobe) decided that it made more sense to save more of his energy for the offense. Especially cus artest & ariza were better lockdown defenders by that time.

I think kobe is one of the most devastating offensive players the game has ever seen. Having the potential to go absolutely nuclear in any given game. His defensive legacy is a little harder to rate. If he was an exceptional defender for about a third of his career (roughly ’01-’02 — ’07-’08), an above average defender for another third of his career (’98-’99 — ’00-’01 & ’08-’09 — ’10-’11), & a mediocre to below average defender another third (’96-’97 — ’97-’98 & ’11-’12 — ’15-’16), I’m not sure where that leaves him in the grand scheme of things.

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