Kobe Bryant: Carmelo Anthony is the hardest player to defend in the NBA
Throughout his 16-year career, Kobe Bryant has often drawn the assignment of defending an opposing team’s best player. He has had some epic battles with great players like Paul Pierce and LeBron James, but Kobe says one stands above the rest as the most difficult to cover. That man is Carmelo Anthony.
During an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Wednesday, Kobe was asked if Anthony is more difficult to play against than LeBron.
“For me, yeah,” he responded. “Melo does it all and he’s as strong as a bull. For me, I weigh (180 pounds) soaking wet. Going up against that bull, man, it’s fun but it’s extremely challenging.”
LeBron has about 20 pounds on Carmelo and appears equally quick on the court, so you would think he’d be even more of a bull. One important thing to note is that the Los Angeles Lakers are playing the New York Knicks on Thursday night, so Bryant could simply be talking up his next opponent.
Having said that, Anthony is a more consistent outside shooter than LeBron who can also take it to the rim. I’m not saying Carmelo is a better player overall, but his jump shot could make him more difficult to cover than LeBron in a way. Anthony’s weakness has always been defense, while LeBron is considered great on both sides of the ball. Unless James is in a serious rhythm, a lot of defenders don’t mind allowing him to shoot from 20 feet and beyond. The same can’t be said of Anthony.