Is Kobe Bryant still a top 5 player today?
It’s been a tough ride for Kobe Bryant and Laker Nation in 2011. They were dominated in the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Mavericks, Phil Jackson retired, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar disrespected, and Kobe looked old. Just going by numbers, the Black Mamba is not a top 5 fantasy player. Take notice that he is not being picked number one overall in many drafts. The trend picked up beginning in 2008 when Chris Paul and LeBron James started to take over.
Why am I highlighting this?
I just cannot believe the time is here. Right now. Kobe is no longer the best player on the planet. That is the reality. That particular title has been given to LeBron James since the inception of the 2008-2009 season. I gave everyone irrefutable factual evidence that Kobe has been slipping as shown in this piece, click here.
Things were outlined. Statistics were presented. And if you watched the series against the Mavs, Mike Jordan did not even go out like that during his prime with Scottie Pippen. What’s up with Kobe? Last season, he averaged 27 points. He averaged 25.3 points this season. During the playoffs, Bryant averaged 29.2 points, 6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. That was beastly, but then he averaged 22.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in the 2011 playoffs. That is a huge drop off. It’s playoff time. Great players usually turn it up during that time. That is a red flag. The most damaging part of the numbers is the minutes averaged per game. Kobe averaged 38.8 minutes last season, but this season he logged 33.9. Player 24 averaged 40.1 minutes during the 2010 playoffs. In this year’s playoffs, he only logged 35.4 minutes. I’ll say it again; great players turn it up during playoff time.
I know about the numerous injuries and heavy minutes logged. I do not care. That’s part of the game. All players go through that. Kobe is no exception. I do not understand the logic behind people saying, “Oh Kobe will be back. Just watch next season.” What do they mean? Yes, he’ll be back. He is not retiring. However, he will not be 25+ points per game Kobe. The minutes are declining right now. His time as “38+ minutes per game” Kobe is over when his age is also factored in. He will be 33 years old.
Compute this stuff and the answer is Kobe has reached the plateau in 2010 and will not get any better. I don’t want to hear this “He will rededicate himself to the game.” He’s already super dedicated. There is nothing left. Laker fans and Kobe fans better hope that he can keep himself healthy and redefine his game as a playmaker.
If Bryant is not top 5 anymore then who are the players before him?
- Dwight Howard
- LeBron James
- Dwyane Wade
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Chris Paul
Right now, Kobe would be battling over the number 6 spot against Kevin Durant. I know many fans will be salty. You shouldn’t be. I am just telling the truth. He is definitely not top 5 anymore, but he remains a top 10 player. You are in denial if you cannot accept this. I got my flame jacket on.
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