Originally Posted by selrahc
big deal. prime kobe wouldve locked him down to score only 2 points.
MJ and Kobe are both two of the best ON BALL defenders of all-time. MJ just the superior all around defender, specifically help defense and off the ball defense ... as well as defensive effort in general.
But Kobe when he wants to is right there with the best on ball defenders I've ever seen: MJ, Pip, GP, Dumars, Kidd, Iguodala, Sefalosha, Hinrich, Alvin Robertson, Eddie Jones, etc.
But you're absolutely right. MJ's and Kobe's role on Team USA in their prime was as gritty, lock down defenders. Kobe on the USA team in 2007 was the reason they started playing elite pressure defense again ... and started blowing teams out the way we used to do.
MJ did the same thing for the '92 team. Locking down people defensively. MJ and Pippen made Kukoc cower with fear in their first matchup.
Kobe locked down resident 6th man of the year at the time, Leonard Barbosa to under 10 points in a tournament game v.s. Brazil in 2007. If I remember correctly, Barbosa was so frustrated, that one could spot tears in his eyes near the end of the game.
That's why you can never compare superstar's and their defensive effort, with resident role players who only have to play defense and not carry near the load offensively. Because when an elite superstar focuses on defense, they are AMAZING.
I still remember in the 2008 Olympics LeBron giving Dirk Nowitzki absolute FITS. Why? He didn't need to do anything offensively for us to win. So he focused all his energy on that side of the floor.
And make no mistake, Sarunas could play. He was a smooth lefty guard, who was deceptively quick, nice handle, and money jump shot. MJ locked this dude down, in straight handcuffs.
Shame Drexler's bum ass let him off the hook and allowed him to round out his own personal box score.