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

Pro BasketballBasketballKobe BryantNBALos Angeles LakersLos Angeles Clippers

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 NBA.com

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.

ALSO:

Lakers week in review

Lakers rushing to hone offense, defense without Bryant

Bryant changes Twitter avatar to '1225,' a likely nod to critics

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