If Kobe Bryant is still looking for some extra motivation heading into this season, all he needs to do is browse around ESPN.com.
The latest comes courtesy of Bradford Doolittle (ESPN Insider) who projected the top-10 shooting guards for this season using the WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player) statistic. Kobe found himself outside of the top-10 in this projection:
As for Bryant, his playing-time forecast is predictably suppressed, but even if it weren’t, his projected winning percentage would just barely get him into the top 10.
The WARP statistic measures how many wins a player is worth as opposed to an average rotation player. Bryant has consistently ranked in the top-10 in the NBA in this statistic before his injury-filled 2013-14 campaign.
What Doolittle seems to be suggesting is that the projections have Kobe’s minutes taking a steep drop, while the Lakers themselves aren’t expected to win too many games which also helped to limit Bryant’s projection.
From a projections standpoint, it makes sense that Bryant is a question mark because no one knows exactly how he will play this year. He has talked about evolving as a player to maintain greatness, what that means as far as his on-court play remains to be seen.
Even still, seeing Bryant below names such as Tyreke Evans, Victor Oladipo, Dion Waiters, and Jimmy Butler is difficult to comprehend. ESPN has already projected the Lakers to finish 12th in the West, as well as ‘Team Turmoil’ so Bryant should not lack for people to prove wrong this year.
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