Derrick Rose Should Be Ranked Higher Than Kobe Bryant on ESPN Player Rankings
ESPN is nearing the end of its annual Top 500 NBA player rankings heading into the season and Wednesday it stirred up some controversy. Derrick Rose is yet to appear on the rankings but Kobe Bryant checked in at No. 25, sparking some debate and discussion on Twitter and TV.
Which begs the question—does Rose deserve to be ranked higher than Kobe on the list? The short answer is yes.
Wednesday, Rose is expected to play at the United Center in Chicago for the first time since tearing his ACL on April 28, 2012 in a playoff game:
No longer are reporters badgering the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau, asking if Rose will play. Now the media is wondering how Rose will play.
Who Will Have a Better Season?
Rose missed a preseason game in Brazil against the Washington Wizards Saturday, the word "soreness" was used and the basketball world nearly erupted. But Rose insisted it was precautionary, telling K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune “I’m good. I could’ve played, but the front office made the decision to sit me out. I can’t complain about it. It’s nothing huge. I know that I should be able to go next game.”
Overreactions to Rose's recovery, especially after so many doubted his decision to not play last year, are to be expected as he tries to recapture the form that made him the NBA's youngest MVP ever at age 22. Tuesday, Rose dismissed any worries about his knee, according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com.
In fact, Rose recently told ESPNChicago.com's Nick Freidell that his vertical leap has increased to 42 inches, up from the mark of 37 he had when he was drafted in 2008. Looking at highlights of his first preseason game, when he scored 13 points in 20-plus minutes of action, Rose still has his explosiveness:
For a player as athletic and relentless as Rose, I suspect he'll have to deal with knee soreness periodically throughout the year, perhaps missing a few scattered games to rest. Granted, that might slow his production down, but at least he's back on the floor with his teammates, unlike Kobe.
In reality, ESPN's player rankings don't mean anything for a team's title hopes and are more for discussion and debate. ESPN's forecast panel is trying to rank players based on predicted 2013-14 production, and given Bryant's impending return from Achilles surgery, it's understandable that they placed him lower than in year's past.
ESPN's NBA Twitter handle shared Bryant's rankings the past three seasons:
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding caught up with Bryant Monday in China, with the veteran superstar saying "If today was a playoff or NBA Finals [game], could I play? Probably.” Bryant is superhuman when it comes to competition and I wouldn't put anything past him. But time waits for no man and he's 35 coming off an injury while Rose is 25 and coming off his injury.
If you want to take issue with ESPN, take issue with Bryant's high ranking. But don't take issue with the panel placing Rose ahead of Kobe, because the young point guard will establish himself as one of the league's best again by the end of the year.
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