Kobe Bryant: Does He Deserve an NBA All-Defensive First Team Selection?

Los Angeles Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant is one of the most lethal offensive weapons in NBA history. 

Once dropping 81 points in a single game, the "Black Mamba" has excited fans for years with his dunks, circus shots and unstoppable turnaround jumpers.

Bryant's game, however, isn't all about offense. He also has owned a reputation of being one of the league's most solid defenders.

Bryant has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times in his career, including the last five consecutive years, but should he receive the honor again this season?

He currently doesn't rank anywhere near the top of the league in defensive rating or defensive win shares. And he's 34th in steals with a total of 88 and an average of 1.17 per game.

In fact, Bryant isn't even the steals leader of his own team this season. That honor goes to 2004 Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest, the Lakers' starting small forward. 

Speaking of Artest, ever since he arrived in L.A. in 2009, he's usually been the guy who guards the other team's No. 1 scorer. And before him, there was the defensive specialist Trevor Ariza. 

Bryant used to be a top notch defender, but over the last few years, he has lost a step or two and is known to roam sort of like a football free safety, never guarding any player in particular.

He could still be a great defender today, but of course, it would be extremely difficult to be the Lakers' top defensive stopper and leading scorer. That would take way too much energy to accomplish such a feat, especially since he's not exactly a youngster anymore.

So the big question is, why does Bryant continue to make the All-Defensive First Team year-in and year-out, even though he clearly isn't worthy? 

Maybe it's because of his popularity. Sure, coaches select the All-Defensive teams, but they must be big time Kobe fans.

Who kno...

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