Kobe Bryant no longer NBA's top shooting guard, general managers say

Kobe Bryant now has something else to use as motivation on social media.

The Lakers guard -- whose "1225" Twitter avatar is presumably a reference to a pair of perceived slights by ESPN, which rated the Lakers the 12th-best team in the Western Conference and Bryant the 25th-best player in the NBA -- has been ranked the second-best shooting guard in the league in an anonymous survey of all 30 general managers released by

A majority of the general managers (56.7%) picked Houston's James Harden as the top two guard in the NBA, followed by Bryant (20%). It's the first time in the 12-year history of the survey that Bryant did not rank No. 1 at his position.

The general managers did bestow one honor on Bryant, selecting the 18-year veteran who is recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon as the league's toughest player.

Predictably, the general managers picked the Miami Heat (75.9%) to win a third consecutive title and LeBron James (69%) to win his third straight most valuable player award. The Clippers (89.7%) were predicted to win the Pacific Division, with Golden State (10.3%) coming in second.

Clipper Chris Paul was picked the top point guard (70%), best passer (46.7%) and was rated as having the highest basketball IQ (33.3%).

Former Clipper Chauncey Billups (32.1%), now with the Detroit Pistons, was picked the active player who would make the best head coach someday. Paul finished second with 17.9% of the vote.

San Antonio's Gregg Popovich was selected the league's top coach (75.9%), with the Clippers' Doc Rivers (10.3%) coming in second.

Houston's Dwight Howard was picked as the league's best center (65.5%) and interior defender (46.7%). Fortunately for him, there was no category on which player general managers would least like to have at the free throw line in the final moments of a close game.


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