On the other hand, instead of hand-checking, today's backcourt defenders are only permitted to pressure their forearms against ball-handlers. This restriction necessarily brings a defender's body very close to the offensive player's body thereby severely limiting the defender's reaction time and space. Forearm pressure is also especially vulnerable to both adroit fakes and quick spins.
For sure, double- and triple-teams usually compel Kobe to give up the ball. But since the defense is so stretched out of shape, his ensuing passes will more often than not be assist passes especially if/when he's trapped above the foul line.
However, are NBA defenses better now than they were in the Jordan era?
In truth, the increasing number of treys attempted skews any way to statistically measure the differences. But the biggest difference between now and then is that the overtly physical and often brutal team defenses of the past have been succeeded by team defenses that place more of a premium on quickness, coordination and finesse.
Perhaps "prettier" is more effective than "down and almost-dirty." Perhaps not.
However, as a 6-foot-9 center who used to be noted for my often over-the-top physical play, I'm always in favor of fellow bigs being able to knock smalls down with impunity.