Kobe Bryant has brought quite a few up-and-coming players back down to earth since he began his NBA career, but there's a new challenge for the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star on Friday night. Bryant won't have to face off against Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire, but instead deal with Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks.
Friday night's meeting will be different than most Bryant has faced, though, because the current hype around Lin and the Knicks is pretty unique -- and something the Black Mamba hasn't really grasped quite yet. Bryant was asked about Lin on Thursday night and, according to SB Nation Boston's Gethin Coolbaugh, the NBA's answer to Tim Tebow hasn't quite reached Kobe's radar.
"What? I have no idea, I mean I know who he is, but I don't really know what's going on too much with that," Bryant said when asked about Lin and what he's done in the past week.
"I don't even know what he's done, like I have no idea what you guys are talking about," Kobe insisted. "I'll take a look at it tonight, though."
If the Lakers only started looking at Lin on Thursday night, they might be in trouble. The 6-foot-3 second-year guard has caught the last few teams he's played by surprise but, as SB Nation's own Mike Prada explained, there are ways to stop the new Next Big Thing.
- Adjusting when teams trap him: It has to be noted that the Nets, Jazz and Wizards are three teams that lack mobile big men that can jump out and divert Lin's path away from the basket. Better defensive teams like theChicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and many more will cut off Lin's angle to the right elbow far better than the Wizards, Jazz and Nets. When that happens, Lin will need to change his game a bit. Some ways to do that include crossing over back to the left or quickly rotating the ball to another perimeter player to try to catch the weakside defenders napping as the trapping big man rushes back to his man.
Once teams are able to figure out the nuances of Lin's game and plan against him -- which sounds weird, but it makes sense when the team's top players are out -- it probably won't be long until Lin comes back to earth and Bryant won't need to know anything about him once again.
Or, y'know, Lin might just keep Linning.
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