Is Kobe Bryant Currently The Third Best Player In League?

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According toRolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, he is.

[h2]Rolling Stone: Kobe Bryant is 'the third-best guy' behind Durant[/h2]
By Trey Kerby



Can we all agree that LeBron James(notes) is the best player in the league? No, we can't? Fair enough. But let's just pretend like he is for the time being, even though it wouldn't really be pretending.

Anyways, if we're saying LeBron is the best player in the league, that means there's a battle for the next in line. And while it doesn't have the allure or cache of gunnin' for that No. 1 spot, it's still pretty intense.

A lot of people will say it's Kobe Bryant(notes). And there'd surely be votes for a healthy Chris Paul(notes). But according to Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, it's Kevin Durant(notes), and it's not even close.
Kobe in reality has been no better than the second-best player in the league for about 18 months now — LeBron James passed him somewhere back in '08. He still had a legit claim to Alpha Dog status coming in to this year because he'd just won a championship. But there's a big difference between being "in the conversation" for the top-dog status and being the third-best guy — and one who's getting older. And that's where he is, third, because Durant is suddenly poster-izing the whole league.

Could it be true? Has Kevin Durant really passed up Kobe Bryant in just his third year in the league? Durant scores more on higher shooting percentages while taking less shots. He's also a better rebounder. Not to mention, he's the biggest reason for the Thunder being a playoff team. That's a pretty strong case.

Of course, Kobe's biggest contributions don't always show up in the box score. He's been unstoppable in the clutch this year, and he's rededicated himself to defense. And he's done all this while remaining the main offensive force for the Western Conference's best team. Oh, and he has four championships. That's also a pretty strong case.
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When asked about the article by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Kobe was deferential.
The "old Kobe" laughed when he was told about the comparison.

"It's an honor," was Kobe's first response. He then called it "entertaining."

"It's a huge honor. It shows a sign of respect for all the work I put in," Bryant said Monday.


Something tells me Kobe isn't too keen on letting Kevin Durant pass him by, and I'd imagine he's not going to agree that he's even fallen as far as No. 2. Nonetheless, the future's in good hands.

Related: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant
 
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I love Kevin Durant and I do think he's the second best player in the NBA, but I don't understand how people completely overlook Carmelo Anthony. Sure, he doesn't have the leadership skills of James, Wade, or Kobe but his skill level is on par or better than those three and he's playing at a really high level right now. He deserves more mention when talking about these things.
 
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I hate labels.

Whoever is holding up that Finals MVP trophy, along with the Larry O'Brien at the end of the year, is the best player at that moment.
 

xtapolapacetl

Banned
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Originally Posted by FrenchBlue23

I hate labels.

Whoever is holding up that Finals MVP trophy, along with the Larry O'Brien at the end of the year, is the best player at that moment.

Yeah, I sure remember you Lakers fans agreeing wholeheartedly with this logic in threads after the 07-08 season finished and Paul Pierce made this statement about himself.
 
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Originally Posted by doctorshoes

I love Kevin Durant and I do think he's the second best player in the NBA, but I don't understand how people completely overlook Carmelo Anthony. Sure, he doesn't have the leadership skills of James, Wade, or Kobe but his skill level is on par or better than those three and he's playing at a really high level right now. He deserves more mention when talking about these things.
you don't understand why people overlook Melo as the 4th best player in the NBA?  Probably because it's just as easy to make an argument as to why he's not....You could put him in as the 4th best player in the L, but what about the likes of Dwyane Wade, Dirk, Bosh, Howard, etc....
 
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Durant is a damn good player but just because he's having a great season doesn't mean he's automatically pushing an all time great like Kobe (who's still ballin and leading his team to 1st in the West) back.

Just an unnecessary article imo.
 
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tough argument.

Lebron and KD are more important to their teams success.

if the lakers didnt have kobe they would still be a playoff team, not too sure about a championship contender.

Lebron is the best player in the league.

but kobe is still the most lethal scorer. but i cant wait to see KD continue to grow
 
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Originally Posted by JapanAir21

Originally Posted by Do Be Doo

IMO he is number 1 still....
This.


And has been, IMO, for past 3-4 years.
What makes Kobe #1?  Is it because he won a championship last year?  Lebron is the most complete player in the NBA right now...and to me, that makes you the best in the game.  At some point you Kobe fans (not saying you JapanAir) have to realize that the torch is going to be passed whether you like it or not.  There was a period where Kobe was hands down the best in the NBA...however with Lebron's dominance on both ends of the floor, I think Kobe's time at that top spot has passed. 
 
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Originally Posted by Xtapolapacetl

Originally Posted by FrenchBlue23

I hate labels.

Whoever is holding up that Finals MVP trophy, along with the Larry O'Brien at the end of the year, is the best player at that moment.

Yeah, I sure remember you Lakers fans agreeing wholeheartedly with this logic in threads after the 07-08 season finished and Paul Pierce made this statement about himself.
Since when does he speak for all Lakers fans???
It's his opinion, it is my opinion that Kobe possesses the skills both physically and mentally to be considered best player in the league, James is #2.

My beef is with people don't want to give Kobe credit for being the best he has to make you give it to him. He goes and wins rings with Shaq and it's "he rode his coat tail". He wins one without him then it's, "he had Gasol he's 2nd best in the league behind Lebron", now they are saying Durant is #2 
and Kobe #3. 

Really? You are going to say a second year player is 2nd best player in the world? He hasn't won anything, he hasn't been given a chance to be consistent!!!!! He has one good year and HASN'T EVEN FINISHED IT YET, and they want to anoint this kid! He is a freakin' kid give him time, what happened to the days where you had to prove yourself first before people crowned you KING???

As for James, I like him, I really do but please get back to me when he wins a ring, just ONE, that's not too much to ask? As for Durant, really good player but #2??? I really don't understand these people and their logic...
 
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Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Originally Posted by JapanAir21

Originally Posted by Do Be Doo

IMO he is number 1 still....
This.


And has been, IMO, for past 3-4 years.
What makes Kobe #1?  Is it because he won a championship last year?  Lebron is the most complete player in the NBA right now...and to me, that makes you the best in the game.  At some point you Kobe fans (not saying you JapanAir) have to realize that the torch is going to be passed whether you like it or not.  There was a period where Kobe was hands down the best in the NBA...however with Lebron's dominance on both ends of the floor, I think Kobe's time at that top spot has passed. 
I'm ALWAYS fine with people saying LeBron is a better player, but if I want someone who can make the plays, I'm taking Kobe 100,000 times out of 100,000.

LeBron is the better all-around player, he's just as fast, he's stronger, he dominates on both ends, but what separates Kobe from LeBron is Kobe's ability to end a game. I whole-heartedly agree that LeBron is more COMPLETE. LeBron has shown flashes, especially in some of those Detroit series, or against the Celtics, and maybe it's because I get nightmares of facing Kobe, but Kobe, as an opposing fan, scares me more.
 

Majorbread

formerly 40inchboost
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I dont think Durant has passed kobe...

and well I dont think lebron has either....

KOBE!
 
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Originally Posted by Do Be Doo

Originally Posted by JD617

Originally Posted by Do Be Doo

IMO he is number 1 still....
  
...Oh damn how did I forget about the Greatest player/shooter in NBA histroy Paul Pierce.  
Who said anything at all about Paul Pierce? You tried reaching for a few lulz with that one and came up short.

Back to the topic, if people can't see that Lebron is the clear-cut best player in the league at this point, I don't know what to say.

You guys can make arguments for Kobe, Wade, Durant, etc. for 2nd, but the 1 spot is not really debatable anymore.
 
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