NBA General Managers Pick James Harden over Kobe Bryant as Best Shooting Guard

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistOctober 22, 2013

Go check Kobe Bryant's Twitter avatar in a few hours. It may become "12252" instead of just "1225." 

For the first time in 12 years, the panel of NBA general managers questioned by's John Schuhmann has named someone other than Kobe the best shooting guard in the NBA. 

Through thick and thin, the annual GM survey has spat out the exact same name each and every year since it voted for the first time back before the 2002-03 season. Maybe some of them just said, "Kobe." Others might have yelled out, "The Black Mamba." Others still hesitantly named, "That guy on the Los Angeles Lakers." 

But they all meant the same person. 

And this year, it changed. Below you can see the voting breakdown, and do note that Kobe paced the league before 2012-13 by drawing 66.7 percent of the vote: 

It's also important to consider the question asked. Instead of being a predictive analysis, like ESPN's NBA Rank, general managers were simply asked, "Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA?" 

Because of that, we don't know how much Kobe's injuries actually affected his candidacy. Was he held back by his Achilles? Was that completely overlooked, making this a testament to the rise of the bearded shooting guard? 

Unfortunately, we can only speculate, but I'm guessing that the Achilles did swing the disparity a little bit. So too might the proclivity for answering "LeBron James" to each and every question posed. 

Obviously that's a joke, but if you read between the lines, you can basically hear Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey defending his star player. 

Regardless of the semantics that went into the vote, this isn't as egregious as ESPN ranking the Lakers superstar at No. 25. There's actually a little bit of a debate as to whether he or Harden should come out on top at this point in their respective careers. 

Personally, I have Harden at No. 9 and Kobe at No. 6 in my own rankings, but that could easily be flip-flopped based on how everything unfolds at the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign. 

The competition is close enough that it really comes down to each and every basketball fan's opinion. 

So, who ya got? Do you agree with the general managers, or are you still repping that No. 24 jersey with pride? 

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