Breaking Down How Kobe Bryant Beats Double Teams

Kobe Bryant faces as many double teams as any player in the league, and if talent and instinct alone weren't enough to get him from under such committed defensive pressure, repetition surely would be. Every move that Bryant makes on a basketball court is perceived as a threat by opposing defenses, and thus it's crucial to the Lakers' viability that Bryant be able to handle himself against the variety of traps and schemes thrown his way.

Double are just a single element in many more complicated scenarios, but they're nonetheless the type of strategic turn that requires direct attention and address.

So how goes Bryant manage?


An active bounce

When faced with double or triple teams, the natural instinct of many basketball players is to immediately protect the ball at all costs. Some begin a literal retreat, slipping backward into a corner or toward a sideline. Some pick up their dribble outright and look to keep the ball out of arm's reach of imposing defenders. Worse yet, some do both, putting themselves in a horrible situation and giving the defense just what it wants.

Bryant isn't a practitioner of any such panic and does a fine job of keeping the ball alive through the defensive pressure. Much of that comes from Bryant's own confidence in his ball-handling skill, but that confidence wouldn't mean much if he didn't have the handle to back it up. Command of the ball is essential when looking to beat doubles off the dribble, and Bryant manages to keep passing and shooting angles alive by remaining active.


Submitting to the defense's demand

Teams opt to apply added defensive pressure for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is to get the ball out of the hands of a particular player. That's not always a great thing when it comes to Bryant; though Kobe is one of the most talented scorers of his era, his passing game allows him to ...

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