Could any current NBA player match Kobe Bryant’s skill level if they had to play against an old school defense like he did?

Well the premise is false.. Kobe fans keep making up this nonsense like he played in the toughest era he did not. His best seasons came post hand checking rules changes (post 2004).

From basketball-reference – this is the scoring leaders in the 2005–2006 season, where Kobe had his best scoring season. Notice anything? 7 out of the top 10 scoring leaders in 2006 were guards. All of the top 10 were players known for their perimeter scoring.

That means, after hand checking rules changes, what happened was the refs didn’t know how to call fouls properly anymore and during the 2006 season you couldn’t touch guards anymore. That’s also why the pace of the game slowed down tremendously during that time is because now you watch a bunch of guards drive in, get fouled, and take free throws the whole game, which is basically what the 2006 Finals were. 2006 Finals was basically just Wade driving in and taking free throws the whole series.

So no Kobe did not play against tough defenses, he played in an era that favored guards and increasing scoring for guards.

Defense was weak during that era. Verticality rule was added in 2011 so at least now at least big men can do something in the interior.

Nowadays, the scoring is higher because the players are better shooters and taking more 3 pointers, and offenses play much faster now. There’s not much iso as before and more ball movement. That’s why you see so many more players getting triple doubles now. It’s not because the defenses in today’s era are worse, it’s because players now play less selfishly and are better shooters than before.

So to answer the question, in terms of total skillset, I’m not sure if they would match Kobe because they don’t need to play the same iso style he played so they don’t need the same skillset he had. But they have other skills like 3 point shooting that they are far better at than Kobe was (Kobe was only a 33% 3P% shooter which would be below average in today’s league). Also they are playing against better defenses than Kobe did.


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