Kobe Bryant has never been one to shy away from controversial statements. That's why it came as no surprise when he declared the 2012-13 edition of the Lakers as the best team (on paper) that he's been a part of.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Bryant was forthright in his praise for his team that has added several big names this offseason:
"On its face, it's the best talent I've been around," said Bryant, entering his 17th NBA season. "Whether that translates into winning a championship, that remains to be seen. But just on paper, you're obviously talking about defensive players of the years, MVPs, All-Stars. You're talking about a myriad of things where guys are on top of their position and have been at the top of their position."
Kobe is absolutely right that the 2012-13 Lakers are the most talented team he's been a part of, but if they can't bring home a championship, it simply won't matter how good they look on paper.
With that said, it would feel unfair to rank this year's Lakers among historical teams with established pedigrees. Thus, they will be omitted from the list.
As the season approaches, we take a look back at the Kobe Bryant's five greatest Laker teams.