Bryant has operated more often and more effectively in the post and midrange area of the floor this season than ever before. As the personnel around him has changed, so has his game. He sought out Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon for a one-day crash course to refine his post moves, and the results have to send a shiver down the spines of anyone with designs on stopping the Lakers in June.
Through 24 games, Bryant has more than doubled the frequency of his field-goal attempts on post-ups from last season -- to 33.9 percent of his attempts from 14.2 percent, according to Synergy Sports Technology. His attempts in isolation have fallen to 20.6 percent from 32.8 percent, yet his shooting percentage on those plays has risen to .440 from .429. His frequency of attempts as the pick-and-roll ball handler has dropped to 10.5 percent from 20 percent. He remains among the league leaders in scoring -- second behind Carmelo Anthony with a 28.9 average entering the weekend -- yet those points are coming in a deadlier, more productive and more energy-efficient way.
Kobe on seeking out the ones who know