Anytime expert analysts and writers are tasked with ranking the competitors within their industry, unless it is based solely on statistics and analytics, people will always find fault with them.
Such is life.
No one can perfectly judge a group of individuals—much less 500 of them—when weighing their value, ability, talent and skill when using a blend of factual numbers and subjective opinions and biases.
Yet, that seems to be the expectation.
Once again, while compiling its complete 1-500 NBA preseason player rankings, the four-letter network has people complaining.
Entering his 18th NBA season having finished second in total points at the age of 34 and coming off of a ruptured Achilles, Kobe Bryant was ranked 25th among all active players.
His ranking places him just behind Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh, which might be perceived as an insult by some.
Certainly, it ruffled the feathers of a few NBA players.
Denver Nuggets forward Quincy Miller was among the displeased, as was Utah Jazz wingman Brandon Rush.
Kobe ranked #25 among NBA players. How disrespectful
— Quincy Miller (@qmillertime) October 16, 2013
Kobe ranked #25 smh
— Brandon Rush (@BRush_25) October 16, 2013
Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and NBA MVP runner-up Kevin Durant took a much sterner stance on the matter.
Players should rate players..just like the nfl do..these analysts never played at this level before! Just being real
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) October 16, 2013
Surely, what the folks at ESPN have to say about Kobe Bryant will never stack up to the opinions of players—current and former. The choice to rank him as low as 25th was not without reason. As ESPN NBA writer Kevin Pelton suggests, the decision was largely based on the severity of his injury.
Let’s put to rest any suspicion that the #NBArank voters are Kobe haters. As recently as April, when the same panel was asked to rate the league’s top players, Bryant came in fourth… The same week Bryant’s ranking was posted, he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in a game against the Golden State Warriors. Concerns about his recovery from that injury — especially at the age of 35 — explain his 21-spot drop in the rankings.
He also states that the rankings are based more on a players value, not just their skill, which explains why Kobe’s health would be such a decisive factor.
While some players are outraged at the ranking, there will always be those that are purely indifferent.
Such is the case for Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert.
Certainly Hibbert is concerned with more important things, such as overcoming the Miami Heat to help lead the Pacers to their second ever NBA Finals appearance.
That would seem to be the high road to take here, as it really doesn’t matter what people say about your team or the players on its roster.
For a competitor, what really matters is the ability to perform and to win.
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Michael writes the Tweet of the Day for SheridanHoops.com.