Defending on Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, by Tayshaun Prince


This Wednesday, August 10, 2022, it will be 14 years to the day that the « Redeem Team » launched its Olympic campaign in Beijing. Outraged Kobe Bryant, LeBron JamesDwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony or even Dwight Howard, we could find in the American workforce a certain Tayshaun Prince.

Suffice to say that the former Pistons winger is quite well placed when it comes to giving his opinion on how to defend against the Bryant-James duo. On the one hand, given his many clashes with the « Black Mamba » (29 in total) and the « King » (57 in total), in the regular season and in the playoffs. On the other hand, in relation to his good defensive predispositions, symbolized by his four selections in an “All-Defensive Team”.

 » With Kobe, the feeling was that you had to make sure you didn’t let him get to his preferred positions because it was all about the pace. Above all, it should not be allowed to happen. He was going to be physical with you and he was going to try to wear you down for three quarters, so that when the fourth quarter came he could get into his preferred positions so that everything would be easy “, details first the ex-soldier of Detroit.  » With LeBron, it was more about struggling with 150 pick-and-rolls the entire game. It was pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll. So those were two different things. »

The exhausting Kobe and the physical LeBron

Certainly renowned for his defensive qualities throughout his career (2002-2016), Tayshaun Prince has yet had it on this side of the floor against the duo Kobe Bryant – LeBron James. And this, despite a well-rehearsed preparation.

 » When you defend on these guys, the coach gives you a scouting report “, specifies in this regard the NBA champion 2004. “ So you rely on it but, at the same time, because you’re a good defender, you say to yourself: ‘Okay, I’m going to use certain things, but I’m also going to use my natural abilities, those that God gave me. So yes coach, I’m going to use some of what you gave me, but I’m not going to use it all. »

Then Tayshaun Prince then adds, about his various duels with the “Black Mamba” or the “King”, and what he put in place to not (too) get walked on.

 » With Kobe, I was like, ‘He’s 1.98m and I’m 2.06m, so I’m going to use my height. He’s going to start trying his fadeaways and if I can just stay close to him, stay on my feet, jump and challenge him properly, then I’m going to hinder him a little bit’ “, first explains the Californian by birth.  » With LeBron, it was more a story of physics. You know, he’s going to shove you around, shove you all the way to the circle, and be super physical with you. So the thing with him is to never end up on the side, but always face him. As soon as you find yourself on the side, it’s over. »


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