Out with the old and in with the new—as a sign of the changing times in the basketball landscape, NBA 2K13 has Kevin Durant ranked one point higher than Kobe Bryant.
This isn't exactly "out with the old." Bryant is still ranked 93 and will clearly be one of the game's best, but he appears to be slipping down the rankings.
NBA 2K13, the popular video-game franchise, is slowly releasing its player rankings for next year's game, but it made sure the first batch had plenty to get the discussion started.
2K Sports tweeted the rankings:
Reached 280K fans. Here are 3 #NBA2K13 ratings: Kobe Bryant- 93, Carmelo Anthony - 92, Rajon Rondo- 90. Will reveal 3 more at 281K. Discuss!— 2K Sports 2K13 (@2KSports) August 27, 2012
As Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times points out, Durant's rating of 94 has also been released.
So Bryant has to deal with the fact that the man who narrowly beat him out for the scoring title and eliminated him from the playoffs is also rated higher in a video game.
Of course, those two factors are a big reason why the virtual "Durantula" is one-point higher than the virtual "Black Mamba."
Bryant had an outstanding season last year, but it is clear that age continues to sap him of some of his explosiveness.
Additionally, he was simply nowhere near as efficient a scorer as Durant. Bryant led the NBA in usage rate by a wide margin last year.
His efficiency is going to greatly improve this season—as he is surrounded by more talent—but his scoring output will also decrease.
Bryant very well could be headed towards a magical season, and he is still recognized as one of the elite players in the game. But his slide down the video-game rankings is just the beginning.