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Recently a group of NBA Experts ranked each current player on a scale of 1-10, based on their CURRENT FORM. The player’s scores were averaged out and compiled on a list of the league’s “Top 500”. As I went through this list, I could care less about Philadelphia 76ers Forward Lavoy Allen being the 500th ranked player, or Phoenix Suns Guard Steve Nash being ranked 14th. My primary focus was on the Top 10 rankings. They were as follows:

10. BLAKE GRIFFIN
9. DERON WILLIAMS
8. DERRICK ROSE
7. KOBE BRYANT
6. KEVIN DURANT
5. DIRK NORWITZKI
4. CHRIS PAUL
3. DAWAYNE WADE
2. DWIGHT HOWARD
1. LEBRON JAMES

My first issue is the fact that for the past four seasons we’ve done nothing but talk about how KING JAMES, KOBE, and DURANT are the three deadliest, most talented players in the league. So when I see this list I’m trying to figure out….WHAT CHANGED?

More than any other issue that I could have with this list, there is one MAJOR problem with the rankings: KOBE BRYANT IS #7!
I always have been one of the biggest critics of Kobe’s on-court complaining, arrogance, and seemingly self-centered attitude. I, like many other “Kobe-haters”, have tried for seasons to overrate players like LeBron and KD, while trying to underrate Kobe. But I finally realize that it was the “dislike” talking, and not a true assessment of Bryant’s true skills. Kobe Bryant at #7 just sounds ridiculous. (Even more ridiculous than Blake Griffin being ranked in the top 10 at all) I understand the “experts” ranked the players by CURRENT FORM, but what is Kobe’s current form? Last we saw, Kobe and the Lakers were swept out of the Playoffs by the eventual NBA Champs. I don’t think Kobe’s form was reflected in this series. There was clearly something more going on with this team. Not to mention, the #1 and #3 players are on the same team, and the only faired slightly better against the same team, which shows that ONE GREAT PLAYER, and not even TWO GREAT PLAYERS, can defeat a GREAT TEAM.

Since these players were ranked by current form, areas like CHAMPIONSHIPS and CAREER STATS don’t matter. So I would like to present the “experts” with one question: HOW MUCH WEIGHT WAS PLACED ON “KILLER INSTINCT”? That is what separates Kobe from the rest. Other than Norwitzki’s performance in the 2010-11 Finals, none of the players on this list have shown the drive to close out a game like Kobe does. Even more, I have to question if any of the other players strike as much FEAR in the opposing team as Kobe does. There is just a different feeling that comes over you when Kobe gets “on fire”. I still get sick to my stomach when he gets that look in his eyes and starts clinching his teeth. I recall games where I would want the Lakers to lose so bad, and as the “Black Mamba” fired up shot after shot, I would just close my eyes, not wanting to see the outcome. The few times that he actually missed the shot, I would spend the next 10 seconds in complete shock that the ball didn’t go into the hoop. No other player posts the same kind of threat.

IN MY COUCH EXPERT OPINION: These rankings must have been based off POPULARITY more than skills, because Kobe should be no less that #3 on any real list. I won’t get into who I think should be ahead or behind him, but I am certain that there are not 6 other guys better than him. He still out-ranks any of the top 10 guys in every area, except one; POTENTIAL. Bryant definitely has some miles on the tank, and therefore does not hold the same potential as the younger superstars. It would be hard to argue that his skill level is on the rise. So if CURRENT FORM means skill level, with growth potential, I can understand his ranking. If they are judging solely on skills, somebody has lost their mind.

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