Image: AP

Kobe Bryant

All week long, our staff writers chime in on a series of topics, rumors and storylines leading up to the start of the season. In today’s edition of State of the Nation, our writers offer their opinions on ESPN ranking Kobe Bryant as the NBA’s 25th best player:

What are your thoughts on Kobe Bryant being ranked 25th by ESPN, and what type of season do you see him having?

Felipe Amaral // @F_Amaral

Outrageous and utterly disrespectful. I wouldn’t take any of the 24 players ranked ahead before the Black Mamba. Coming back from the Achilles, I expect Kobe to take it slow at first, but finish the season strong to prove the world he’s just different. By 2014, it will be all systems go for Mr. Bryant.

Jordan Grant // @JordanGrant90

Kobe’s spot at number 25 is a mistake. You’d rather have 24 NBA players on your team before Kobe Bryant? I’ll attribute the ranking strictly to his age and injury, but when it comes to anything Kobe, he has earned the benefit of the doubt.

Mark Awad // @MarkeyTheBoss_

25th? Disrespectful. Do we ever wonder how Kobe only has one MVP but five championships? I’ll take Kobe with one leg to be a top 10 player. No way the NBA has 24 other players better than him. First match his toughness, second his basketball I.Q. They say the game of basketball is 90% mental and 10% athleticism. Having an Achilles tear is bad, but you just can’t count someone out who nearly led the league in scoring at the age of 35. I would like to see Kobe come back mid-season; have him rest, get in shape, there’s no rush.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0

Kobe’s rank at 25 is purely based on his injury, and for that, it’s a fair rating. If healthy, Kobe would have been ranked in the top 10 where he belongs.

Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson

Kobe being ranked 25th best player is blasphemous! Yes, you take into account the difficulty of returning from an Achilles injury, but Kobe’s endurance, championship pedigree, and work ethic should have been taken into account. Please show me 24 more players who are better on two legs than Kobe on one! 

Oren Levy // @LakersOren

I understand they expect the injury to take a toll on him, but 25 is too low. Kobe was first team All-NBA last season. Anything less than third team would surprise me, even with the Achilles injury. That’s top 15. Still, Kobe has been consistently underrated in NBA Ranks (never ranked in top 5), so it’s nothing new.

Garret Garcia // @GarrettGarcia

Like just about all other fans, I feel it is far too low of a ranking.  However, Kobe is often underrated in rankings and he uses it as fuel to empower himself and prove his doubters wrong.

Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII

It’s preposterous for Kobe to be ranked the 25th best player. Even with a torn Achilles I would still rather him play than 24 of the other players on the list. The best part about this ranking is that Kobe’s heard about it and is feeding off it. I can guarantee you right now that this ranking will only make a better and even more efficient Kobe.

Jon Gaffer // @jewelslamo

Bryant ranked 25th is all a matter of conjecture. Do I think he should be higher? Probably.

Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth

25th is far too low for Kobe Bean Bryant. It is certainly difficult to get a feel for how effective Bryant will be coming off Achilles surgery, but being ranked behind the likes of Chris Bosh, Joakim Noah and John Wall is inexcusable. If Bryant’s rigorous rehabilitation this off-season is any indication, he should be able to overcome this potentially catastrophic injury and reclaim a top 10 status by the end of the season.


Next Question Tomorrow: In their first 7 games, the Lakers will face six playoff teams, including two back-to-backs. What is your prediction through the first 7 games?