As we continue to mourn the great Kobe Bryant, his impact on the game is still prevalent when watching today’s NBA. We all know the global impact Kobe had due to his dedication to his craft and is great, but many players today are showcasing an improved skillset thanks to Kobe Bryant.
In fact, some players were lucky enough to have trained with Kobe in the past year, picking his brain and learning from one of the all-time great scorers. Here are the players that had the privilege of being trained by one of the games greatest legends, Kobe Bryant.
Giannis is the reigning MVP of the league after a spectacular season last year, and one of the lucky ones who used Kobe Bryant to improve his game.
Giannis clearly developed a killer instinct since the start of last year, completely dedicating himself to his craft at becoming one of the all-time greatest players and arguably the best international player in the game today.
While Giannis will likely never develop a jump shot as effective as Kobe’s, he clearly improved on key aspects of the game including creating space, finding spots on the floor to operate, and improving mental intangibles.
NBA Champion And Finals MVP
Reigning Finals MVP and NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard luckily took time out to work out with Kobe Bryant before his passing. Leonard had all the tools to be an all-time great defender, which Kobe was for his position, but he also clearly revamped his offensive game.
Leonard began to show us an improved game which included a step-back jumper, an improved fadeaway from mid-range and even improved three-point shooting. Clearly, Kobe’s training worked.
Leonard was by far the best player in the world during last year’s playoff run with the Raptors, as he managed to carry the team to it’s first NBA title in their franchise history. His improved offensive game is a direct reason for that, and Kobe has a lot to do with it.
Eastern Conference All-Star Starter (1st Appearance)
There will seemingly be a trend of players who managed to make their first All-Star appearances after being trained by Kobe Bryant. The first one was Trae Young, who is widely known for his admiration for Kobe Bryant. In fact, their games often translate on the court.
Kobe was a player who wanted to be the most dominant on the court and loved taking all the shots he could. Similarly, Young is a gunner and wants to prove that he is the best offensive force on the court. Clearly, their games resemble each other.
But perhaps the most important change in Young’s game was his improved offensive skillset. Since working with Kobe, Young can score in a variety of ways thanks to his ability to create space on the floor. Kobe was renowned for his ability to find enough space to rise for a jumper, and Young seems to have added this to his arsenal.
Western Conference All-Star Starter (1st Appearance)
Doncic is clearly one of the game’s greatest international players, and his improved offensive game is one major reason. Doncic can do it all on the court now, including attacking the basket and using his patented step-back jumper.
Since working with the late Kobe Bryant, Doncic has developed his own offensive arsenal by implementing Kobe’s ability to create space when guarded tightly by defenders and attacking their front foot in an isolation situation.
Doncic is averaging 28.8 PPG, and much of his improved arsenal is a direct result from dedicating his time to mastering offensive moves, and also from learning from one of the game’s greatest scorers. As one of the top five scorers in the game currently, Doncic looks primed and ready to build off of Kobe’s past training sessions in a bid to climb all the scoring charts in NBA history.
Eastern Conference All-Star (1st Appearance)
Tatum is a much-improved player this year, and he clearly had a love and admiration for Kobe Bryant’s game. Tatum, since the start of last year, began working with Bryant to understand how he did certain things on the floor. While we will never see another Kobe Bryant again, Tatum has managed to implement parts of Bryant’s game to improve his own.
Tatum firstly improved his mid-range game and deep-range shooting, which may come with experience, but the biggest change was Tatum’s ability to create his own shot.
Tatum began to create his own shot and become more selfish on the court, something that has directly helped his team after the departure of Kyrie Irving. Tatum can now be the focal point of the offense and has added all the tools of Kobe’s game to his repertoire including fadeaway shots, step-back jumpers, and pump fakes. The future is very bright for this young man.