A Kobe Bryant Story

A Kobe Bryant Story.

Mike Procopio was a coach/consultant to Kobe Bryant from 2009-2013. Here he details how he helped Kobe adjust to Shane Battier’s analytics-based defense.

And I got a call from Tim and said hey
look Kobe Bryant’s going to be calling
you is that all right, obviously
right, yeah so i was like, yeah, that’s
great, he goes look there’s this article
written about how the Houston rockets
uses analytics through Daryl moray and
he goes they use the analytics to give
it a shane battier uh basically it says
that Kobe’s
probably out of all 30 teams 29 other
teams in the NBA he’s the least
efficient against them so Kobe read the
article wanted to know what it was about
um so i got you to know i got this call
from kobe email call i think it was an
email actually he was like hey mike look
this is what the deal is
um i read this article i want you know i
don’t really feel comfortable with
anybody sort of having an edge over me i
want you to i want you to get all the
information you can from anybody that
you can
what they know what how they guarded me
why am i you know less efficient against
them again you know versus anybody else
and just get back to me so you know i
did this investigating i watched all
these games that they played and i
started making notes about how they
defended him what they were really
trying to have him do how shane batty
guarded him weaknesses and shame batted
his game defensively
um and then i started you know not only
seeing those things
but picking up things that kobe wasn’t
doing that could make him more effective
he you know just like any superstar his
ego sort of got the best of him at times
and you know when they they basically
battier was programmed to force him
don’t give him middle
do not leave his feet contest every shot
hand in kobe’s face not in his ball
not following kobe and forcing kobe to
take all these tough shots but funneling
him to yao ming which was this giant
that could protect the rim was his big
big guy that could protect the rim was
very smart
and was really hard to score on at the
rim so kobe would you know they would
funnel them to him he’d either take
these fade away jump shots with the hand
in his face or would try to score on yao
ming where he had on his hip would have
shane battier on his hip he can’t go
middle going baseline straight to yao
ming and he tries to score of a yawning
which is a very inefficient way to try
to score right dunk on him and score
because he’s kobe but like that’s one
out of every seven or eight times
i said you know basically told them all
this about shane battier told them how
they were defending them gave me a
defensive rotation but then i’m like you
know what let me take this a step
further i said look you’ve got all these
teammates that you have on your team
that you never really use on a regular
basis you take all these tough shots
early shot clock obviously late shot
clock you got to do what you got to do
but early shot clock when you drive
because he usually caught her on the
left wing when he drove left baseline
you know everybody would collapse
basically having four people on him well
he have a trevor arizer in the right
corner all the time and look trevor
rizza wasn’t a great player by any
stretch of imagination but what trevor
ariza was really good at was straight
line driving finishing cutting and he
could make a you can make a spot up
corner three pretty effectively so when
he drove
baseline well trevor’s man would rotate
off and he’d be wide open right not only
that you know he had pal gasol which is
arguably one of the most skilled big men
to ever play the game would he would
always be around after kobe would drive
he would relocate into space and kobe
would never hit him i said look what you
really need to do is you need to
forget about the over dribble and early
shot clock you need to either catch and
shoot jab and shoot straight line drive
and and try to score if you’re going to
do that but they want you to continue to
dribble they want you to spin around
like you barry sanders back in the 1990s
like that’s that’s how he played with no
offensive line that’s what he want they
want you to do you really need to
emphasize using pow
when when xiaomi gets out of his face
and he tries to guard you being able to
kick it back to powell for those open
elbow jump shots for those you know for
those little floaters and hooks in the
lane as well as hitting trevor rieser in
that right corner you’re not doing that
that’s really holding you back and i
think that if you guys want to win a
championship consistently and i
reference back to 2008 you know finals
which i thought would strike a chord but
i didn’t really care i was like look
if you want to do that again because if
you do that against great teams you’re
not going to be effective if you play
this way against great teams you’re
going to be impossible to defend you’re
not just going to be this
one-dimensional scorer you’re going to
be a a hell of a scorer that could also
you know find teammates when they’re
open and i think the most important
thing here is you got to get yaoming
away from the paint you got to bring him
up and you got to be able to move him
side to side because he can’t move but
when he’s just parked in the lane at the
pain he’s very effective defensively
when he has to step away 7 8 9 10 12
feet then you could just go right by him
like it’s not even there so
i give him this report it’s like five
six pages long
and you know kevin mchale’s laughing he
goes like but you know you think that
he’s listening to you you think you you
know i said look are you oh you think he
should be telling him this i said look
it’s not like brian scalibrini asked me
about this this is kobe bryant like you
mchale would joke around back and forth
like that he would start laughing and i
go look i gotta give him the truth you
know that’s what we do with attack with
tim grover’s company we give our clients
the truth so might as well give it to
them so they play
kobe has like 36 but the probably the
thing that sealed him me working for him
was about 90 seconds left in a really
close hard-fought game
you know he has a i i believe that
ronald jess was guarding them waiting
the game he steps out
young he beats he beats him off the
dribble yao steps up and instead of
trying to shoot over yao crosses him
over you know like he’s not even there
waves it in done and i’m like
laughing you know he goes you think
you’ll ever hear from again i go no
i’m not going to hear from me again but
it was a pretty cool day right it was
pretty cool to be able to do that and
then like so he gets interviewed there
was a national televised game i’m
watching it like the timberwolves had
some type of like an event that night
that um obviously i was just a guest of
michaela i couldn’t go so i was just
watching it in like the family room in
there in their arena and i’m just
watching showing watching the game and
about 90 seconds after kobe gets
interviewed i get an email said hey
i got oh tex he goes i got
i got san antonio tomorrow i need the
same thing
then it ended up being like you know
three in the morning what the did
this guy really want i gave him this one
game but i don’t really have any format
for this
so then i just started like trying to
all right let me try to get every player
that’s going to defend him and every
player that he’s going to defend and
give him all this information strengths
weaknesses stats shot charts um
video scouting report
and then let me give him a scouting
report of how he played the net you know
that night you know and that’s sort of
how we formulated



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