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Mike Brown's offense likely to use Kobe Bryant in multiple ways

December 5, 2011 |  8:00 am

It's a no-brainer that Kobe Bryant will play a large role in Mike Brown's offense. He's Kobe Bryant, and he's kind of a good player.

How he's used in the offense, however, may be different than in previous years. Brown's offense involves more high-post and pick-and-roll activity than Phil Jackson's triangle, which focused on spacing. It's uncertain what effect a prolonged off-season and an innovative procedure on his surgically repaired right knee will have on Bryant's health. We also don't know how Brown will actually handle the pecking order between Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. But based on Brown's comments to the media, here are a few ideas:

1. Post-ups. Bryant has resorted more to a post-up game in the past two seasons to preserve energy and because he studied more moves from Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. This would be a sound strategy considering he shot 49.3% from that area, according to Synergy Sports. Brown envisions Bryant receiving shots from the mid-to-high post, a spot Brown refers to as "the Karl Malone area."

2. Pick-and-roll. Bryant's not going to suddenly become Chris Paul. But this could become an effective way to ensure that Pau Gasol gets more touches. It's likely Gasol and Bryant would run these sets more than the Black Mamba would with Andrew Bynum considering the Lakers' center lacks mobility. Bryant may not be as an effective shooter in this department — Synergy says he shot only 39.4% off pick-and-roll plays last season. 

3. Off-the-ball. Bryant needs to do more of this because it will ensure more spacing on the floor. It'll also prove harder to guard him. "Any time you can have somebody come off screens and move somebody off the ball," Brown said, "they're harder to double-team." 

4. Isolation. Brown routinely talked about ensuring Bryant receives looks in his "sweet spots." Brown never defined where those are, but Synergy tabs that the plurality of Bryant's shots last season (31.5%) came in isolation sets. Bryant's proved effective in this department, shooting 44%, but he may want to temper running isos. Doing so would conserve more energy and better ball movement. 

5. Triangle. Brown may largely stay away from Jackson's offense, but says he'll still "sprinkle in bits and pieces." Brown has remained vague about which of the seven principles of the triangle offense he might use. Those principles are penetrating front-line defenders, ensuring balanced spacing, ball movement, ability to pass to any teammate at any given time, strong rebounding positioning and defensive balance, ability to change player positions and using individual talents. 


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— Mark Medina

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