The Bread-and-Butter Plays for Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant's supreme confidence has always been both his greatest asset and most glaring weakness. 

A confident Bryant intimidates opponents, wills his teammates to greater heights and dominates the fourth quarter. He exerts every ounce of his talent on the opponent. 

When the ball is going in the basket, Bryant is virtually unstoppable. It's when he's missing that the problems arise, because Bryant never stops firing. 

As it stands right now, his 37.9 usage rate leads the league among players who have played more than two games, according to Last week, he scored 39 points on 37 shots. We're seeing Kobe's other, uglier side. 


Where Bryant Excels

Bryant certainly doesn't deserve all of the blame for Los Angeles' early-season struggles. He's the team's late-clock option and its only consistent shot creator. The entire burden of the offense essentially rests with him and head coach Byron Scott's creativity in drawing up plays.

That said, there are areas on the floor in which Kobe is far more effective both as a scorer and passer. 

The elbows—and in particular that semi-circle just above the paint and below the three-point line—is where Kobe is at his most lethal. His centralized position pressures defenders into making quicker decisions, and Kobe's top-notch court vision punishes slow reactions. 

That situation occurred in a game earlier in the season against the Golden State Warriors, with Bryant squaring up against Klay Thompson:

Jordan Clarkson, a solid three-point shooter, stood at the ready on the left wing while Jordan Hill hovered in the dunker spot—an area below the rim and along the baseline where bigs hang out to avoid mucking up drives and step in for dump-off passes.

As Bryant explodes left, Harrison Barnes, Clarkson's defender, only sw...

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