True Hoops

True Hoops

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mamba Owns the Block

You may have heard of Kobe Bryant's buzzer beating game winner at the Drew league a few weeks ago. Other than to provide sheer entertainment, did you also know Kobe was there as a professor emeritus to educate everyone in the building on how to play basketball?

Check out his highlights from the entire game:

One of my teammates from a summer league I play in put me on to this video. 
This display by Kobe seems so effortless and so artistic. 
I was so enamored with it I had to blog about it.

Really, look how easy it is for him - he does any and everything he wants on the court. It doesn't even seem like he is moving that fast, yet he blows by DeMar DeRozan at will in the beginning of the video. And just so you know I'm not picking on DeRozan, look how he blows by James Harden and finishes with the dunk at the 2:25 mark. 

And do yourself a favor, check out the referee's facial expression in the foreground after Kobe's back-to-the basket, double clutch reverse lay-up at the 3:00 mark.

But what I love about these highlights is the complete evolution in Kobe's game.
For goodness sake - look at this dude's post game!
No lie, after watching these highlights, I worked on my post moves and footwork for an hour in the gym the next day (I am a 6'1" point guard, mind you).

I know this was only a summer league game, but really, it's more like a tutorial. 
Check out this example:

1) Isolation on the right wing. Back to the baseline, ball in left hand. 
These are actually important details -  it positions Kobe to see the whole floor, but also, it places his shooting hand/shoulder (right hand) closer to the basket. 

2) Kobe takes a dribble to his right but keeps the ball in his left hand, thus protecting it with his body.
This is where he sets up his move. Look at his right foot (next to the 'D' in Digital). His momentum is going to the right - so he is going to use his right foot to plant on the floor and push off.

3) By now, this move should actually look a little familiar. Kobe is using his right foot to push off and step back from the defender (James harden), thereby creating space. Also, check out how Kobe has aligned his right shoulder to face the basket now - putting him in perfect position to shoot.

4) After Kobe pushes off his right foot and steps back, he switches to his left foot from which he will elevate into his shot. Also, look how Kobe still keeps the ball on the left side of his body - away from the defender. This still enables him to protect the ball, while the defender tries to swipe at it (check out Harden's hand).

5) What's really cool here is that Kobe is actually taking a step back and fading away at the same time. Normally on a step back you tend to gather yourself after your set up move and jump straight up off two feet. Here, Kobe is raising up to shoot while fading away  - he doesn't even let his right foot touch the ground and is jumping off one leg! Also, notice how Kobe brings the ball over to his right side only after his elbow is shoulder level (and after the defender tried to swipe the ball).

6) Perfectly aligned to the basket - text book shooting form. Think about the strength it takes to elevate off one foot like that. And consider this, as Kobe elevates off his left leg, his right leg serves as a sort of buffer between him and the defender. I previously mentioned how it doesn't seem like Kobe is moving fast. Look at the first picture, you'll see the time mark is at 1:06. Now look this last picture, 1:07. The whole move takes 1 second. 

I know what you're thinking - a step back fade away jumper off one leg out of the post?
Where have I seen that before???
I've got it!
Sounds and looks to me a lot like Dirk Nowitzki.
Any chance that Kobe watched and took notes during Dallas' run to chip?

I wouldn't be surprised. 
Remember a couple of summer's ago when Kobe took post move lessons from Hakeem Olajuwon?
And that was before it became the thing for perimeter players to do.
Look at that Hakeem/Kobe work out - now check out the 3:22 mark in the highlights video above.
Practice makes perfect


Now to digress a little.
NBA Players from the Drew league (Brandon Jennings, James harden, etc.) recently played and lost to NBA players form the Goodman league (Kevin Durant, John Wall, etc.). It was sort of an West coast vs. East coast bragging rights thing. The Drew League lost 134-133 after Brandon Jennings missed the potential game winning jump shot in the final seconds.

There is talk of a potential rematch.

In light of their loss, the Drew league is in talks with Kobe to have him play. Good idea right?

Well apparently this is not cool with Brandon Jennings. He feels since Kobe is not from L.A. he shouldn't be allowed to represent L.A. or the Drew league.

Oh boy.
Brandon, I know you jest (at least I hope you do).
But let's look at the numbers:

You are turning 22 in September.
You went to Oak Hill in Virginia, you played a year in Italy, and now play in Milwaukee. 

Kobe has played in L.A. for 15 years (since you were 7). 
He has brought L.A. five championships.
I'm sure he is more synonymous with L.A. than you are.

Do yourself a favor. Let him play. 
Your team will probably win.
More importantly - look at the video above. You may learn a thing or two.

No comments:

Post a Comment