ESPN released their latest rankings of NBA players and their panel ranked Kobe Bryant #40. This is a drop in the rankings from last year were he was ranked #25. This is where things get interesting for all basketball fans, especially Laker fans. ESPN is saying that there are 39 players ranked higher than the Black Mamba. That is a tough pill to swallow allow if you’re a Laker fan.
For Laker fans there is no way there are 39 players who are better than Kobe! Are you kidding me? This is Kobe Bryant we are talking about here! He is the Black Mamba, Vino, and arguably the greatest Laker ever. Kobe Bryant is a franchise player. He’s a five time champion; he is KOBE BRYANT! I don’t believe Kobe is the 40th best player in the National Basketball Association. Kobe is Kobe and he will continue to do Kobe things; that’s the mindset of Laker fans. I must admit, that I fall into that category. I am a Laker and Kobe fan. I believe that Kobe isn’t done; he has a few years of being elite still in him. I agree with Stephen A. Smith from ESPN First Take that it is an insult to rank Kobe Bryant so low. Kobe is such a cerebral player that he will evolve his skillset and still be able to dominate a game. When it comes to Kobe Bryant, you don’t bet against him: ever! It’s this belief in him that has me believing (hoping) that Lakers will be a better team than what people think.
However, I understand why ESPN would rank Kobe Bryant #40 because he has yet to show he can remain healthy for an entire season. We haven’t seen Kobe post achilles injury. He last grimly played 6 games. And six games is far too small of a sample size. It’s not only the achilles he’s coming back from; he is also coming back from a fracture on the lateral tibial plateau on his left knee. And to top it all off Kobe, is in the twilight of his career when recovering from injuries isn’t easy, especially the ones he suffered. The players that were ranked behind Kobe are:
• Eric Bledsoe
• Kenneth Faried
• Chandler Parsons
• Paul Gasol
• Ty Lawson
• Roy Hibbert
• Gordon Hayward
• Bradley Beal
• Brook Lopez
• Lance Stephenson
The majority of those players are younger than Kobe and entering their prime as players. Now, overall these players can’t touch Kobe, they aren’t even in the same galaxy. But the question is which player will be more productive for their team: Kobe or the players on that list. Who has a better chance of staying healthy: Kobe or the those other players? That’s where I believe this ranking is based on. The unknown of Kobe’s health will determine if the rank was justified or not.
With all this being said, it all leads to Kobe having more ammunition to motivate him. I can’t wait to see how Kobe responds to all this negativity on Twitter. Kobe is on a mission this season and ranking him 40th best player in the league won’t go unnoticed by the Black Mamba. He is Kobe Bryant and he’ll die trying to make everyone pay for ranking him that low. Kobe, it’s time to show them who they are messing with! Mamba army rise up!