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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Is Miami Heat center Chris Bosh more valuable than the Black Mamba?
ESPN’s 2013 NBA Player Rankings list of top players in the NBA ranked Lakers guard Kobe Bryant at number 25, behind such players as Bosh, Bulls center Joakim Noah and Wizards guard John Wall.
According to ESPN, the rankings are said to predict a player’s overall level of play for the upcoming NBA season, including “both the quality and the quantity of his expected contributions.”
Last year, Bulls guard Derrick Rose (No. 5) and former Lakers center Andrew Bynum (No. 13) were ranked in the top 15 and did not play in a single game.
Bryant, who averaged more than 27 points per game last season and was ranked No. 4 in last year’s ESPN rankings, is said to be on track in his recovery from surgery in mid-April on his torn left Achilles tendon. However, it remains unclear whether he will suit up for the Lakers’ first regular season game on Oct. 28.
In defense of the controversial ranking, ESPN Insider cited both the 35-year-old Bryant’s age and the severity of the Achilles injury as key factors to explain his 21-spot drop in the rankings.
Most fans on Twitter, however, weren’t buying the defense.
Kobe's drive is otherworldly + training methods/med care are 20 years better. History says everything Kobe did LAST season was impossible—
Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 16, 2013
OK, so it goes Kobe at 25 then Bosh at 24. These guys are on that Lamar Odom for real.—
@KGTrashTalk (@KGTrashTalk) October 16, 2013
ONLY LeBron and Durant could be considered better than Kobe on these days. ONLY those two.—
Doctor NBA (@DoctorNBA) October 16, 2013
Does anyone recall how awful Kobe's defense was last season? When he was healthy?—
John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) October 16, 2013
There was no immediate response on Twitter from Bryant, who was in Shanghai with the Lakers for an exhibition game.