Kobe Bryant: Why He Is Still a Top 5 Player in the NBA

Kobe Bryant was once again left out of the Top Five in ESPN's annual player rankings for the second straight season.

Even after averaging an impressive 27.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 4.6 APG last year, the shooting guard was snubbed yet again. Evidently, earning a seventh straight All-NBA First Team selection didn't sway the voters into placing him in the Top Five. 

The choice was unbelievable. 

After all, the numbers, accomplishments and skills that Bryant displayed last season all speak for themselves and clearly show why he should be recognized as one of the top-five players in the NBA.

Let's evaluate his game and compare him to the rest of players ESPN recognized as the top five:

The Numbers

As noted earlier, Bryant averaged 27.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 4.6 APG in 2012. It's tough to understand how a player who averaged numbers like these was snubbed. So let's break them down a little and compare them to the numbers of the NBA's best. 

Bryant finished second in scoring last year, averaging 27.9 points per game. He actually led the league in scoring for the vast majority of the season until he conceded the title to Kevin Durant in the final week of regular season to finish second.

At age 33, Bryant somehow managed to outscore younger scoring machines like LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul (all of whom were ranked higher than Bryant).  

Despite his impressive scoring numbers, some critics were still quick to point out that Kobe shot a lowly 43 percent from the floor. But those critics also forget that Bryant's true shooting percentage was 52.7 percent—a far better percentage than the majority of players in the league today.   

Also, Bryant did not benefit much from the Lakers' stagnant offense that Mike Brown implemen...

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