Here is Golliver on the decision to rank Kobe Bryant at No. 54:
Indeed, there is a pretty good case to be made that Bryant shouldn’t be on this list at all. Bryant had the worst effective field goal percentage (.411) of any NBA player to take at least 700 shots. Nevertheless, Bryant’s usage rate (34.9%) was second-highest in the league, trailing only Russell Westbrook. Simultaneously, Bryant had the worst defensive rating (112.6) of any player that logged at least 1,000 minutes, and he ranked 81st out of 91 shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. That’s what happens when you gamble off the ball with Donald Trump-like discretion and play transition defense like a flabbergasted tourist whose money belt has just been ripped off his waist in broad daylight.
In last season’s rankings, Kobe came in at No. 24, ahead of All-Stars DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall.
Bryant, 37, has played just 41 games over the past two seasons, and has had three straight season-ending injuries. In 2014–15, the Lakers’ worst season in franchise history, Bryant shot 37% from the floor in 35 contests.
Bryant is in the final year of his contract with the Lakers, which will pay him $25 million, more than any player in the NBA.
The full explanation for Bryant, and the list of players ranked 100–51, can be found here. Players ranked 50–31 will be revealed Tuesday on SI.com.
- Kenny Ducey