I think he is top 10, but nowhere higher than #9. Why? Because Kobe has always been, and will continue to be, rated much more highly by fans than by analysts. The reason is pretty simple: Kobe is an inefficient player. Besides his rings (which are team awards), his individual awards are lacking (only 1 MVP, 2 finals mvp, 2 scoring titles).
Kobe Bryant – 5 rings, 1 MVP, 2 Finals MVPs, 15x All-NBA, 2x scoring champ, 45% FG %
the 15x All-NBA and 5 rings are probably Kobe’s best awards – but the 5 rings come with an asterisk because the first 3 rings he was not the best player on his team. He has 2 rings as his team’s best player. In the top 10, no other player has less than 2 MVPs and at least 2 rings as the team’s best player except for who you place at the #10 spot which is either Jerry West, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaq or Oscar Robertson depending on the person.
Jordan – 5 MVPs, 6 rings as the best player, 50% FG%
Kareem – 6 MVPs, 3 rings as the best player (1971, 1980, 1985), 56% FG%
Wilt – 4 MVPs, 2 rings as best player (1967, 1972), 54% FG%
Russell – 5 MVPs, 7–8 rings as the best player, 44% FG%
Magic – 3 MVPs, 3 rings as the best player (1982, 1987, 1988), 52% FG%
Bird – 3 MVPs, 3 rings as the best player (1981, 1984, 1986), 50% FG%
Duncan – 2 MVPs, 3 rings as the best player (1999, 2003, 2005) 50% FG%
Lebron – 4 MVPs, 3 rings as the best player (2012, 2013, 2016) 50% FG%
so as you can see, every player ranked ahead of Kobe has more MVPs, more rings as the best player (except Wilt) and better FG% (except Russell). And since FG% is a big deal for advanced stats like PER, TS%, etc thats why analysts don’t like Kobe. Also, 2 scoring titles is a small number (less than Iverson, Durant and Gervin who all have 4 and obviously Jordan and Wilt) when Kobe is often touted as the “most lethal scorer of all time”. These are the reasons why Kobe is often rated much more highly amongst fans then by analysts. Of course, “killer instinct” and “mamba mentality” and “cold blooded assassin” are buzzwords used by Kobe fans but there’s nothing backing it up; even clutch stats show that Kobe is 7/28 in last seconds of 4th quarter which is worse than Jordan or Lebron. And also, Kobe fans like to say that Kobe was “robbed” of MVPs by Steve Nash, but the MVP voting shows that Kobe was not on the MVP voting ballot in 2005 and was only 4th place in 2006. That’s why Kobe is only #9 at best. And sometimes out of the top 10 completely. You could make good arguments for West, Oscar, Hakeem or Shaq over Kobe. Or even Steph Curry – 2 MVPs, 2 rings as the best player (2015, 2018), 48% FG%. You might say its blasphemous but there is actually a good chance Durant or Curry can surpass Kobe in accomplishments by the end of their careers – while shooting much better.
Also I don’t trust player’s opinions either, because they are biased to their position and era. For example, Kobe said the toughest player he ever had to guard was Tracy McGrady. In an overall ranking of shooting guards though, I don’t think Tmac would be in the top 10 though. Likewise Bird said the best teammate he ever played with was Dennis Johnson. Most people would rank McHale ahead of Johnson though. There are biases because certain players play more against certain other players, and only in their own era and position etc Lastly players rely on their own opinion, less so on concrete stats which analysts do.
And also for clutch shots… is Kobe really a clutch killer? Well the stats say otherwise: