Rankings have not been kind to the Lakers in this off-season. ESPN projected the Lakers to finish 12th in the Western Conference, and for the team to have the most turmoil in the NBA. And things haven’t been much better for star player Kobe Bryant.
ESPN didn’t even have Bryant in their top-10 shooting guard projections and Sports Illustrated ranked him as the 24th best player in the NBA, down from number nine last year. Now the Sporting News may make Kobe’s list of people to prove wrong as they ranked him as the seventh-best shooting guard:
Bryant is coming back to a Lakers team that has undergone significant change, with Pau Gasol gone, new coach Byron Scott in place and an odd roster featuring new additions Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer. That would all be strange enough for Bryant, but the fact that he is also coming off both a bad knee and an Achilles injury — making his individual expectations a giant question — adds to the general weirdness of this year for Bryant.
Questions surrounding Kobe Bryant are nothing new in this off-season. His injury concerns are understandable, but putting him at number seven, multiple spots behind fellow older players Dwyane Wade and Manu Ginobili, who have also dealt with multiple injuries seems a bit odd. Young up-and-comers Bradley Beal and Demar Derozan also ranked ahead of Bryant.
Bryant has enjoyed proving people wrong throughout his career, and he has plenty of doubters this season. He will surely be looking to make a point this season that he is still one of the elite players in the game.[divide]
Kobe Bryant’s Big Drop In Sports Illustrated’s 2014 NBA Player Rankings