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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

5 Reasons Why Kobe Bryant Is Still An Elite SG

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Top 5 Reasons Kobe Bryant Is Still An Elite SG

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant recently returned for the Los Angeles Lakers from a horrible torn Achilles tendon injury that he suffered at the end of last season. At the age of 35, many questioned whether or not Bryant could return to the player he was before his injury. Some even thought that this injury would be the end of Bryant’s career. I am here to tell you that Bryant will not be a shell of his former self, but Bryant will get back to his old form and be the dominant player he once was. Bryant is a legend, and the fact that people question his return is laughable. This is arguably one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA. The Black Mamba is still elite and will always be an elite shooting guard until the time he decides to retire.

To give everyone an idea of just how good Bryant is, just look at his career numbers. Over his career, Bryant is averaging 25.5 points, 4.8 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. To put these numbers in perspective, Michael Jordan in his career averaged 30.1 points, 5.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game. Wow, the fact that Bryant is even close to the best player to have ever played in the NBA makes his case an easy one. Do you think Michael Jordan’s status as an elite player ever got questioned? No way; not a chance. Bryant is a man on a mission this season to prove to the world that his status as an elite player should never be questioned. An injury will not impede his return to greatness either.

Bryant may not be the best player in the league anymore, but he easily makes the Top 5. In fact, I would be willing to say that the only players better than him are LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Many others make a strong case for the Top 3 such as Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, but Bryant has done something those two will never do—win a championship. Bryant is not only an elite shooting guard in my opinion, but he’s still the best in the NBA. Check out my top 5 reasons for why I believe Bryant is still an elite shooting guard.

Andrew Shaw is an Atlanta Hawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow Him on Twitter @AShaw003, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Flashes of Greatness

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Since his return to the Lakers, Bryant has already showed flashes of his former self. In only six games, Bryant has already put up 20 or more points three times. For a guy coming off of one of the worst injuries you could possibly have, that’s remarkable this early in the season. Once he gets his legs under him, Bryant will start producing games like this on a nightly basis.

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4. Rings

Cary Edmundson-USA TODAY Sports

You cannot mention Bryant without talking about the number of rings. Throughout his career, Bryant has won five NBA Championships with the Lakers. No other shooting guard or any active player for what it’s worth can match the Lakers’ star when it comes to championships. Out of the five championships, he won the NBA Finals MVP trophy twice. Any player that wins this trophy must instantly be considered elite because only the best win this award. Bryant knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage and brings his championship experience to the floor every game for the Lakers.

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3. He's Clutch

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to find any current players better in late game situations than Bryant. Durant certainly can make a case along with a few others, but no one comes near the Black Mamba. Bryant has hit a number of shots for the Lakers over the years in order to win games. In fact, he has hit over 50 game-tying or game-winning shots in the last 24 seconds in his career. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment for the 15-time NBA All-Star. If you want anyone with the ball in their hands at the end of a game, it's Bryant. His ability to hit the clutch jumper easily makes him one of the elite shooting guards in the game today.

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2. Premier Defender

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant’s most underrated attribute is his defense. Even at his age now, he wants to match-up against the other teams’ best player. Over his career, Bryant earned All-Defensive team honors 12 times and for good reason. Bryant takes pride in his defense and wants to be recognized as not only a great offensive player but a complete player. He may be getting old, but Bryant still plays defense at the highest level making him one of the premier defenders in the NBA today.

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1. Pure Scorer

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant is one of the best pure scorers to ever play the game. Not many players can create their own shot better than the Black Mamba. He has the ability to rise over his defender for the pull-up jumper any time he wants. Just ask the Toronto Raptors about his ability to score the basketball. Bryant only put up the second highest point total in NBA History with 81 points. Even though the game occurred seven years ago, that moment still illustrates just how good Bryant really is. His production since that year really hasn’t declined that much either. Just last year, Bryant averaged 27.3 points per game and had a season-high 47 points in one game. The injury may set him back a little, but Bryant is still one of the elite shooting guards in the game today.