Kobe Bryant: MVP

In This Article…

As the NBA resumes after the All-Star break, and what promises to be the most eventful “stretch run” in years gets under way, there is one topic that will be more and more on NBA fans’ minds.

Who is this year’s MVP?

While there are currently four names in the MVP discussion, I would argue that only three of these four — Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, and Kobe Bryant — are legitimate MVP candidates.

From these three, it is clear now, and should become even more so over the next eight weeks, which is the MVP.

Ladies and gentlemen, the universally recognized best player in the world and the 2008 NBA MVP: Kobe Bryant.

But first…

The Candidates

At this point in the season, the general consensus has settled on four candidates for this year’s MVP Award. In no particular order, they are as follows:

  • LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics
  • Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets
  • Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers

A decent, if not always legitimate, case can be made for each of these four players.

LeBron James’ Cavaliers are not on track for anything more than a halfway decent season (currently on a 46-win pace), but the argument for James is that his supporting cast are a random collection of “scrubs,” and that his ability to win even as much as he has with so little help from his supporting cast is remarkable in and of itself.

Kevin Garnett’s Celtics are the owners of the NBA’s best record, and started the season 32-3, on pace for an unprecedented 75 wins. While they have since cooled off somewhat, going only 9-8 since their spectacular start, they are nonetheless on track to win anywhere from 58 to 65 games. Recognized as the best player on the best team, Garnett’s candidacy is in keeping with the precedent established by MVP voters over the past 25 years.

Chris Paul is the leader and the key to a Hornets team that has surprised everyone this year, boasting the best record in the ultra-competitive West. With his Hornets on pace for a 58-win season after having won only 39 games last season with essentially the same team (though admittedly less healthy), Chris Paul is a very strong MVP candidate in only his third year in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant’s Lakers are the other surprise team out West. Having done what LeBron is now doing over the last two years, Kobe now has the Lakers on pace for anywhere from 56 to 62 wins in what was predicted to be a poor season for this Lakers team. As the universally acclaimed best player in the world, he is now leading his team to a regular season record that may finally result in his first MVP Award.

The Criteria

I have already discussed the criteria for legitimate MVP candidacy in a previous article, so I won’t repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that MVP voters have come to require all legitimate MVP candidates to come from a team that wins 50 or more games in the regular season, with the MVP usually being described as “the best player on (one of) the best team(s).” (While the minimum requirement is 50 wins, the voters tend to favor a player from a team with 55 or more wins.)

Therefore, while fans and the occasional media rebel may argue the true value of one player to his team, as compared to another, a strictly literal definition of the term “most valuable” does not apply to the NBA’s MVP Award.

Click here for a more in-depth discussion of this aspect of MVP candidacy.

Based on this added stipulation, only three of the proposed four candidates have a legitimate shot at receiving the award, with LeBron James’ Cavaliers on pace for a sub-standard 46 wins this season.

The Factors

This is where the MVP race between the three remaining legitimate contenders becomes interesting. Having met the minimum requirements — being considered one of the most valuable players to his team among those candidates whose teams are on pace for 50 or more wins — there are several additional factors that may separate one MVP candidate from another.

The first of these, again, is his team’s record. While this has already been mentioned as a minimum requirement for legitimate MVP candidacy, it can also serve to separate one legitimate candidate from another in a close race. Should all other factors be equal, the player whose team wins 67 games should receive the award over the player whose team wins 55 games.

Another factor that can separate one MVP candidate from another is the teammates he plays with. Should all other factors be equal, the player who plays with the weakest supporting cast should receive the award. Therefore, while playing with two other All-Stars (such as in the case of Kevin Garnett) can be helpful in leading a team to one of the best records in the league, it may reduce a player’s candidacy if another player is able to do the same while playing without the help of any other All-Stars.

The conference in which an MVP candidate’s team plays should also be a significant factor in determining the recipient of the award. As I have previously discussed, the Western Conference is far, far superior to the Eastern Conference. Therefore, a player’s accomplishments in the West should be weighted more heavily than similar accomplishments in the East.

Yet another factor that can come into play when judging between MVP candidates is expectation — or, more specifically, lack of expectation. Should all other factors be equal, the candidate whose team’s success comes as a surprise should receive the nod over the candidate whose team has performed as expected, because unexpected success often indicates a greater achievement.

Finally, injury can also be a factor in judging between MVP candidates. For example, if a player’s team plays as well without him as it does with him, his MVP chances may decrease. But if his team plays poorly without him, and yet he returns to lead them to one of the better records in the league, his perceived value should increase.

On the other hand, if a player’s team does poorly without him and he is not able to return soon enough to lead them to one of the best records in the league, he may fall out of contention for the award because of his team’s lesser record.

Of course, if a player plays through significant injury and manages to lead his team to a successful record, his accomplishments will be seen as even more significant, and are that much more likely to be rewarded.

All of the above are factors that can separate one MVP candidate from another. Now, let’s look at how these factors come into play with the current contenders for the Award.

LeBron James

LeBron’s Get Out of Jail Free Card

The NBA and the sports media are simply dying for any opportunity they can find to heap honors upon LeBron James. Case in point: The All-Star MVP Award. Here is what the Medina Gazette had to say about LeBron’s All-Star performance:

The 23-year-old finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and nine assists en route to his second All-Star Game MVP award in the last three years. To erase all doubt about who should win the honor, he threw down a resounding dunk in the final minute.

But while LeBron’s stat line is undoubtedly impressive, the true MVP of the All-Star Game was Ray Allen. While Allen may not have had the rebounds or the assists, he did score more points on slightly more than half the amount of shot attempts — 28 points on 10-14 shooting, including 5-9 on 3-pointers.

But there’s a story that the box score alone doesn’t tell. With 3:23 remaining in the 4th Quarter, the West was up 118-116 — until Ray Allen took over. Despite the West’s refusal to go quietly, Allen nailed three 3-pointers in a row — all in the span of 1:16 of game time! LeBron then added a dunk, and Wade contributed a layup, but the West kept it close. So Ray Allen made a layup, and then followed that up with three free throws to seal the deal.

The bottom line: In the final 3:14 of the game, with the West making a surge, Ray Allen scored 14 of the East’s final 18 points and single-handedly kept the West at bay. And somehow, LeBron James got the MVP.

Why? Because it had already been decided — if not officially, at least subconsciously — that if LeBron had a good game, he would receive the honor. This is LeBron’s Get Out of Jail Free card.

Perhaps the clearest demonstration of the obvious and deliberate favoritism shown to LeBron comes from the Medina Gazette article referenced above. In a feeble attempt to prove that James deserved the award, the author makes the following claim: “To erase all doubt about who should win the honor, he threw down a resounding dunk in the final minute.” Of course, he conveniently fails to mention that it was LeBron’s only basket in the East’s final 18 points, and that of those 18 points, Ray Allen was responsible for 14.

Welcome to the NBA, LeBron. Here’s your crown — we’re sure that sooner or later, you’ll actually earn it.

I’m not going to spend much time on LeBron, as his team’s record does not satisfy the minimum requirement for MVP candidacy. As I have previously discussed, the Cavs’ current pace of fewer than 46 wins is not sufficient for MVP candidacy, therefore LeBron is not a legitimate contender for the Award.

In addition, LeBron’s candidacy is further damaged by the fact that he plays in the Eastern Conference — where a 46-win season would be the equivalent of only a 42-win season, at best, were the Cavs in the Western Conference. Given this, it should be clear that James cannot be considered a valid MVP candidate this year. (Note: Should the Cavs finish the season on a Bostonian 26-3 run or better, I will revise my position on LeBron’s MVP candidacy.)

It should be noted that the NBA and the collective sports media would love nothing more than to be able to give James the Award — a fact which, no doubt, is largely responsible for his inclusion in this conversation despite his very obvious ineligibility. Should you doubt the favoritism LeBron receives, be sure to read the sidebar, entitled LeBron’s Get Out of Jail Free Card.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett’s Celtics certainly project to have the record necessary for MVP consideration… and then some. The Celtics are likely to finish with the NBA’s best record by a very comfortable margin, since Detroit, which boasts zero MVP candidates, is the only other team currently on pace for 60 or more wins.

The case for Garnett as MVP has both pros and cons. First, the pros:

  • He is widely considered to be the “heart and soul” of the league’s best team, and he is, by all accounts, the driving force behind the juggernaut that is the Boston Celtics.
  • He is considered the initiator of Boston’s league-best defense — a defense which has surprised many, and which most consider to be the true key to the Celtics’ winning ways.

These two facts, when taken in the context of the Celtics’ league-leading record, are the primary basis for Kevin Garnett’s MVP candidacy.

And now, the cons:

  • He plays with two other All-Stars and future Hall of Famers in Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Each has been the “go-to guy” and the leader of his team in past years. Allen has led a team to 50 or more wins twice, while Pierce once led a completely unimpressive Celtics roster to 49 wins.
  • Much of the credit for Boston’s impressive defense should in fact go to defensive assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, whom Boston acquired during the off season from the Houston Rockets. Thibodeau’s defensive coaching is credited in large part for Houston’s 2nd-ranked defense last year, when the Rockets surrendered 91.2 points per game, second only to San Antonio.
  • During a recent 9-game absence due to injury, the Garnett-less Celtics went 7-2. Their defense suffered — 95.9ppg surrendered without him, versus 90.1ppg with him — but was still good enough to be considered a top ten defensive team in the NBA.
  • The Celtics play in the drastically weaker LEastern Conference. As I have previously discussed at length, this comes with significant scheduling benefits, meaning that accomplishments made in the East are less impressive than similar accomplishments made in the West. Given the disparity between conferences, the difference between 66 wins in the East and 58 wins in the West could easily be seen as minor.

In light of all of this, it would seem that there are as many factors working against Garnett’s candidacy as there are working for it. Even in his strengths — the best record in the NBA and the league’s best defense — he must share much of the credit with others, and recent events, such as the team’s success without him, would seem to undermine his MVP candidacy.

In fact, while Garnett is receiving a majority of the credit for everything good happening in Boston, I don’t believe the Celtics have a true MVP candidate any more than Detroit does.

Chris Paul

There are very few negatives and a long list of positives in Chris Paul’s MVP candidacy. First, the pros:

  • The Hornets have the best record in the West — which is now being heralded as the most competitive conference the NBA has ever known.
  • The Hornets are an absolute surprise team. No one expected them to be here. No one expected them to even be close. In fact, I doubt many even expected them to make the playoffs. They won 39 games last season; this season, they’re on track for 58.
  • Worth repeating: Paul’s Hornets have accomplished all of this in the über-stacked Westeren Conference!

While there is very little to detract from Chris Paul’s claim to MVP candidacy when compared to LeBron James or Kevin Garnett, there are a few minor cons to mention, which will make more sense when all is said and done.

  • While Paul’s supporting cast does not compare to Kevin Garnett’s, particularly in terms of co-star power, he does have more All-Star help than LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. He plays with fellow All-Star David West, and many have argued that Tyson Chandler should have been an All-Star this year as well.
  • In addition to fellow All-Star West and would-be All Star Chandler, the Hornets boast sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who leads the NBA with 3 three-pointers per game on nearly 50% long range shooting.

In fact, virtually the only possible holes in the argument for Chris Paul’s MVP candidacy revolve around his strong supporting cast. So the fact that he doesn’t receive the nod here has almost nothing to do with what Paul has or has not done, for he has had a truly formidable year. Instead, it has everything to do with what yet another player has done, for there is one who has done even more.

Kobe Bryant

Over the past two years, Kobe Bryant has done everything humanly possible to help the Lakers win — leading a team even worse than this year’s Cavs to a better record in a better conference. He has performed minor miracles on a daily basis. But despite his heroics, he was unable to lead what amounted to a D-League team (in 2005-06) to 50 or more wins.

Now, that is changing. As Bryant continues to do everything anyone has ever asked of him, and more, his Lakers are on pace for anywhere from 56 to 62 wins.

Bryant has led the Lakers past the Suns for the Pacific Division lead, currently one game behind New Orleans for the best record in the West, with the hardest part of their schedule behind them. He has the Lakers on an overall pace for 56 wins. However, since the Pau Gasol trade, the Lakers have won 7 of 8 (and 9 of their last 10) — a pace that, if maintained, could result in an astounding 62-win season. If they continue to play as they have since Gasol’s arrival — especially after the return of Bynum — the Lakers could very possibly finish the season with the best record in the West.

This removes the only remaining excuse MVP voters have had for not giving Bryant the Award: the Lakers sub-standard record of the past couple of years. He has sacrificed his personal stats for the benefit of the team — taking 7 fewer shots and scoring 7 fewer points than he did two years ago — while trusting his teammates in ways that his critics claimed he never would. Now, if the universally acclaimed best player in the world leads his team to 55 or more wins in what experts are calling the most competitive conference ever, the voters will have no remaining excuses for not giving him the MVP Award he rightly deserves.

But there’s more.Not only does Kobe have the Lakers on track for a very impressive win/loss record, but he has kept the Lakers playing .500 basketball after Andrew Bynum’s injury and before Pau Gasol’s arrival — during a time when many thought the Lakers might even fall out of the playoff race. Overall, the Lakers are 12-6 since Bynum’s injury.

Of the 5 losses suffered during the post-Bynum/pre-Gasol period, all were to teams with winning records, and four were against 4 of the top 5 teams in the NBA: Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, and Detroit.

These accomplishments — the Lakers overall record, and their recent record without Bynum — are even more impressive in light of the multitude of injuries the Lakers have suffered. In addition to Andrew Bynum’s 8-week absence, defensive swingman Trevor Ariza is also out for 8 weeks (now looking more like 12 or more weeks), Chris Mihm continues to struggle with injury, and Vladimir Radmonovic and Luke Walton have each missed a number of games with ankle injuries that are still not fully healed. Meanwhile, Pau Gasol did not arrive on the scene until very recently. Thus, Kobe’s ability to keep the Lakers on pace for 55+ wins despite the constant flux in the roster around him cannot be overlooked.

In addition to constant injuries to those around him, Kobe has himself been hit with food poisoning, flu, wrist injury, shoulder injury, ankle injury, upper respiratory infection, and dislocation of the pinky finger on his shooting hand — and has played through all of it, not missing a single game. Aside from the first two games following his initial pinky injury (in which he made up for poor shooting with very high assist totals), he has played excellent basketball in all of these games.

Now, having aggravated his pinky injury, he is currently playing through an injury on his shooting hand that will require surgery, with his pinky finger taped to his ring finger. He intends to do this through the rest of the season, the Playoffs, and the Summer Olympics.

The significance of this cannot be emphasized enough. This is what MVPs do. Compare this to LeBron’s lesser injury to his non-shooting hand earlier in the season: LeBron sat out six games, all of which the Cavs lost.

Were this the East, Kobe could probably afford to have the surgery, miss six weeks, and return for the Playoffs. But with 4.5 games separating the 8 playoff teams in the West, the Lakers cannot afford to play without Kobe Bryant. It could mean falling out of the Playoffs entirely.

Thus, if Kobe is able to successfully play through an injury that would result in a minimum 6-week absence for any other player, and in so doing leads the Lakers to one of the best records in the NBA, there will simply be no way for the voters to deny him any longer.

In addition, Kobe’s Lakers have the surprise factor going for them, much like Chris Paul’s Hornets. Before the season started, many thought the Lakers would be hard pressed to make the Playoffs. Many others assumed Kobe’s days as a Laker were numbered. All expected this season to be grim, tense, and full of frustration. As it turns out, none of the above has been true.

Kobe has formed closer bonds than ever with his teammates, has become a stronger leader, and the Lakers were considered one of the best teams in the West even before the Gasol trade! As such, the Lakers may be an even bigger surprise than the Hornets.

Also like Chris Paul, Kobe and the Lakers have achieved all of this in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Again, I couldn’t possibly overstate the significance of this. Were this Lakers team in the Eastern Conference, they would likely be on pace for 65 wins — or more! The West has long been drastically better than the East, but this year it is also drastically better than previous Western Conferences. To be achieving such success at such a time as this in the Western Conference is truly impressive.

Unlike Paul, however — not to mention Garnett — Kobe has accomplished all of this without any All-Star help. Pau Gasol only recently arrived, and Andrew Bynum, while significantly improved and a dramatic upgrade over Kwame Brown, was nonetheless averaging numbers similar to Cleveland’s Zydunas Ilgauskas — 13 points and 10 rebounds — before his injury. While his potential is seemingly limitless, he is not an All-Star yet. And while these numbers are similar to Tyson Chandler’s 12 points and 12 rebounds, Bynum is not yet the defensive presence that Chandler is in the paint.

And while the Hornets’ fourth-best player is Peja Stojakovic — averaging 16.3 points per game and leading the league in 3-point shooting — the Lakers top scorer from behind the 3-point line is, in fact, Kobe Bryant himself.

As for negatives, I can think of nothing to detract from Kobe’s MVP candidacy. He does not play in the weaker East, like LeBron and Garnett. He does not have the luxury of playing along side other All-Stars, like Paul and Garnett. He has played through every type of injury and ailment imaginable, unlike any other candidate — and plans to play for the next several months with a shooting hand that needs surgery. And he is leading the Lakers to one of the best records — perhaps the best record — in the West. (Note to the reader: If you can think of any factor that could detract from Kobe’s MVP candidacy, by all means, clue me in.)

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Happydaze for pointing out yet another challenge Kobe’s Lakers have overcome. Add to all of the above the fact that Kobe has led the Lakers to within one game of the best record in the West while playing the second toughest schedule in the entire NBA to date (tied with Minnesota). As John Hollinger’s rankings show, the Lakers Strength Of Schedule (SOS) so far has been .520 — meaning that their opponents have an average record of .520.

Meanwhile, Chris Paul’s Hornets have had the 22nd toughest (or 8th easiest) schedule so far (.482), while Kevin Garnett’s Celtics have had the 27th toughest (or 4th easiest) schedule to date (.491, tied with Washington). All of which makes it all the more impressive that Kobe’s Lakers are but a game behind the Hornets in the tough Western Conference.

All this with a team that was expected to struggle this year.

The 2007-08 MVP

In conclusion, I would argue that there are only two true MVP candidates, as LeBron James doesn’t qualify and Kevin Garnett is not a standout candidate while playing with Pierce and Allen.

Of these two true MVP candidates, Kobe Bryant should be the clear winner of this award — not that Chris Paul has been anything less than wonderfully exceptional.

Kobe Bryant has just been that much more so.

And should this inevitable conclusion not yet be clear, rest assured that after eight more weeks of playing through significant injury to lead the Lakers to one of the best records in the league, it will be.

Filed Under Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, MVP | 97 Comments

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97 Comments so far
  1. Aaron Wakling says...February 21, 2008 8:45 am

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Aaron Wakling

  2. Basketball » Kobe Bryant: MVP says...February 21, 2008 8:54 am

    [...] The Apologist wrote a fantastic post today on “Kobe Bryant: MVP”Here’s ONLY a quick extractHe is widely considered to be the “heart and soul” of the league’s best team, and he is, by all accounts, the driving force behind the juggernaut that is the Boston Celtics. He is considered the initiator of Boston’s league-best defense … [...]

  3. Happydaze says...February 21, 2008 10:18 am

    Re: Lebron’s “Free Pass”

    I actually waited until the end of the ASG to vote for the MVP, and sent in a vote for Allen, since the EC would have been done without him. Got a message back saying that voting had been closed since the 3-MINUTE mark, which is about where ASG players start playing hard if it’s a close game. Just thought it was interesting.

    Re: KG

    Thought you should also add to the discussion the Boston gets away with extremely physical defense, as the “star calls” have spread to the entire team.

    Re: CP3

    On the money there…I don’t think that you can so much argue against him being the MVP, as present more evidence that Kobe deserves it.

    Re: Kobe

    Also, I wanted to add the Lakers Strength-of-Schedule up to this point to the argument. The Lakers are on pace for 56 wins DESPITE having the second toughest schedule in the league up to this point.

    Re: Misc

    What a game in PHX last night. Was a fun game no matter who won…although I’m definitely glad the Lakers pulled that one out.

    Have a good one. I was looking forward to this piece.

    Happydaze

  4. Jeff says...February 21, 2008 10:56 am

    EXCELLENT article. Well researched, thought out, and extremly well written.

    I think he’s an idiot regarding it, but other voters can fall in line with him- Hollinger likes to vote for whoever has the highest PER- Which is Lebron, by a wide margin. Kobe’s 7 right now, if memory serves.

    Which is a crap way of looking at it, but like I said, some votors go for that.

  5. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 11:26 am

    @Happydaze,
    Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. I’ve been writing it in my head for the past couple weeks.

    Re: Lebron’s “Free Pass”

    I actually waited until the end of the ASG to vote for the MVP, and sent in a vote for Allen, since the EC would have been done without him. Got a message back saying that voting had been closed since the 3-MINUTE mark, which is about where ASG players start playing hard if it’s a close game. Just thought it was interesting.

    Very interesting, indeed. What a terrible way to determine the MVP of the game. Nonetheless, it’s not surprising that, with fan voting, LeBron took the award over Allen.

    What remains disappointing is the complete lack of commentary from the professionals on this matter. Visiting NBA.com the day after the game, it was all about how “The King” had won the All-Star MVP Award. In fact, I’m not even sure if they even used his proper name — but I’m pretty sure they called him “The King” in at least 5 different places.

    But it’s not that surprising that the NBA’s own web page would be reluctant to admit any errors — particularly considering that the NBA virtually never admits fault, ever. However, I’ve seen no mention on ESPN.com, SI.com, or any other major sports network of the fact that Ray Allen was the game’s true MVP. So while the decision may have been the fans’, the league and the media has more than willingly embraced what any amateur basketball fan should understand to be a HUGE mistake, and refused to even touch the truth — that LeBron was, in fact, not the MVP of that game.

    Re: KG

    Thought you should also add to the discussion the Boston gets away with extremely physical defense, as the “star calls” have spread to the entire team.

    I wish I had more opportunities to see the Celtics play. Not having watched them very much, I can’t really speak to this. So I won’t. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if that were true, since NBA officials do definitely have that tendency (no matter how much they deny it), and Boston owns the warmest and fuzziest story in the NBA this year.

    Re: Kobe

    Also, I wanted to add the Lakers Strength-of-Schedule up to this point to the argument. The Lakers are on pace for 56 wins DESPITE having the second toughest schedule in the league up to this point.

    Turns out, you’re absolutely right. I’ve added an update to the article, near the end of the Kobe Bryant section (and just before the MVP section). Thanks for the tip!

    Re: Misc

    What a game in PHX last night. Was a fun game no matter who won…although I’m definitely glad the Lakers pulled that one out.

    No doubt! I don’t believe there is a drug in the world that can give a person the kind of high I was on for several hours after that game last night! I was on the edge of my seat for all 48 minutes (or, in my time, 3 hours!).

    And while this article was already in the works, Kobe showed once again why he is this year’s MVP.

  6. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 11:36 am

    @Jeff,
    Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll continue to check back for new articles, and perhaps join in the discussion from time to time.

    I think he’s an idiot regarding it, but other voters can fall in line with him- Hollinger likes to vote for whoever has the highest PER- Which is Lebron, by a wide margin. Kobe’s 7 right now, if memory serves.

    Which is a crap way of looking at it, but like I said, some votors go for that.

    There are some thing I love about Hollinger’s PER, and some things I really don’t. On the one hand, I really do appreciate that, as was recently said in a discussion at the LA Times Lakersblog, Hollinger at least attempts to approach player evaluation with some form of methodology. I can respect that he’s not just being blown about by the wind, like many in the sports media. So I give him props for that.

    On the other hand, PER is not the only “next generation” statistic. And perhaps the one thing that all of them have in common is that, much like traditional statistics, they are not meant to be used as the end-all, be-all. Unfortunately, Hollinger often relies far too much on PER, and fails to take into account a whole host of other information, including raw, subjective, visual evaluation.

    However, when it comes to MVP, I don’t think Hollinger goes simply by PER… does he? If he does, it’s news to me. And if he does, then that’s really quite foolish, since that actually encourages stat-seeking types of players. I think Hollinger is more likely to use PER, and only PER (unfortunately), in a discussion of who is the best player. But as we all know, “best” and “most valuable” are two very different things in the NBA.

    Perhaps he does use PER for determining his MVP. But I would think that even someone as stubborn and sometimes arrogant as Hollinger would recognize that PER can’t be used as the measure for determining the MVP.

    Unfortunately, there are many who need only a halfway passable excuse to anoint LeBron, and will gladly use PER as their excuse to give him the MVP Award. But that goes back to the favoritism LeBron experiences, both from fans and from the media.

  7. Jeff says...February 21, 2008 2:15 pm

    Hollinger may not go purely by PER, but stats in it of themselves are a HUGE, HUGE part of his picks- I have insider, so I get to read all his chats- and Kobe’s not in top three for MVP for him, because he needsto be playing statistically like he played last year and the year before.

    He’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t. Lebron is his MVP so far, with CP3 a close second, if I remember correctly.

  8. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 2:25 pm

    @Jeff,

    Really?? As frustrated as I can get with Hollinger’s one-track-mindedness, I honestly expected better from him.

    Hollinger should know better than anyone the rules for MVP consideration! As such, I can’t see how he can even mention LeBron in the conversation, given that the Cavs won’t be winning the required 50 games this season.

    I also have ESPN Insider, and if you happen to have a link to a chat where he said that, I’d love to see it. It really shouldn’t surprise me, given that Hollinger lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes PER, but it still just boggles my mind that he’s either ignorant enough or brazenly biased enough to suggest that LeBron should be the MVP despite being on pace for 45 wins in the pathetic LEast!

  9. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 2:35 pm

    @Jeff,

    One more thing: I can’t emphasize this enough.

    It’s one thing to advocate an extremely valuable player from a team that wins games in the mid-40s, if that team would otherwise have won fewer than 20.

    But it’s another thing entirely to base your MVP vote on statistics — no matter how advanced your metrics are. Making the decision based on statistics encourages stat-seekers! And that’s exactly what the voters are trying to prevent!

    If Hollinger really does place so much emphasis on stats for determining the MVP, then his “expert” opinion definitely drops a notch in my book (it was hovering around “Not Awesome But Not Horrible” before this). At least some of the other knucklehead analysts, even if they don’t understand or agree with the reasoning for it, have the sense to recognize that “this is the way things are” — MVPs come from 50+ win teams.

    But Hollinger claims to be a rational, logical kind of guy. I mean, he invents his own complex formulas and creates new statistical metrics. Even if they’re overrated, you have to have some degree of intelligence to see that. So how can the guy not understand that MVPs don’t come from teams with fewer than 50 wins!

    Yeah… if he really chooses LeBron this year, then he takes a big nose dive in my book.

  10. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 2:39 pm

    Also: You’re right. Damned if he do, damned if he don’t. Everyone clamors for Kobe to trust his teammates more, take fewer shots, sacrifice his own statistics for the team’s sake.

    Turns out, it was never about his stats. It was about winning, and in the past, he had to shoot the hell out of the ball to do that. But he has more than gladly reduced his shot attempts and scoring average. And then Hollinger and his ilk criticize him and refuse to give him the MVP because he’s not putting up the same numbers as the last couple years!

    Here’s what I want to know: Who did Hollinger choose last year, and the year before? Because if he chose Kobe, he’ll go back up a little in my book. He’ll still be wrong, but at least he’ll be consistently wrong.

    But if he refused to choose Kobe the last couple years — especially if he cited the Lakers’ record as a reason — then someone is going to have to hold him accountable. And I think I’d be up for the task.

  11. Jeff says...February 21, 2008 3:26 pm

    Congrats, I shall now go digging back in his articles to who he picked last year for MVP- I shall make it my mission! Not like I have anythign else to do with my relaxing day at home :)

  12. Jeff says...February 21, 2008 3:33 pm

    Houston, THAT was quick- here’s his pick from last year, as well as his reasoning

    MVP: Dirk Nowitzki
    I’ve had several healthy MVP debates in the chat room, so I don’t think my vote really surprised anyone.

    But for those who haven’t stopped by, here’s a quick recap: The two most effective players in the league this year have been Nowitzki and Tim Duncan. They haven’t been the flashiest, or the most entertaining, or the ones whose shots have the highest degree of difficulty. But if the goal is to win games, those are the two guys you wanted on your side this year.

    Nowitzki was a bit more effective (finishing second only to Dwyane Wade in PER) and did a bit more winning, so he was my choice. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash were the next two names on my list — were Nash to win, it would not be the travesty that it was a year ago. If I was forced to put somebody fifth, I suppose it would be LeBron James.

    Annnnnnnd here’s his pick from Two years ago-

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — My how things can change. Less than a month ago, I made an MVP case for Dwyane Wade that I thought was ironclad. I really didn’t think there was any way that another player could do so well over the final month that he’d surpass Wade in terms of overall value for the season.

    Having watched LeBron James single-handedly end the Nets’ 14-game winning streak in the Meadowlands on Saturday, it’s obvious that I spoke too soon. From out of nowhere, James has shot himself into the discussion and may very well end up winning the trophy. That’s quite a shift, since nobody held James’s MVP stock in very high regard over the first half of the season. It appeared the Cavs would end up with a win total in the low 40s and James himself struggled mightily in some late-game situations.

    But thanks to a late, LeBron-fueled surge, the Cavs aren’t headed for a humdrum 43-39 campaign but rather something much closer to 50 wins — they’ll hit the half-century mark with a 4-2 finish, which would seem well within the club’s reach. That’s an impressive accomplishment considering Larry Hughes and Anderson Varejao both missed roughly half the season.

    Then there are the late-game situations. While James had some struggles earlier in the year, he’s been money of late. For instance, Saturday’s comeback win over New Jersey included an insane play by LeBron to tie the game in the final minute. With his club down by three, he took a steal and zoomed upcourt. Three different Nets grabbed his right arm to prevent him from shooting, but James was so strong that he muscled through all of them and put the shot up softly off the board for a basket and foul. Other than Shaq, I can’t think of a single other player in the league with the strength to get that ball near the rim, much less convert the shot.

    That play was the signature moment in a 37-point, seven-rebound, five-assist performance — including 18 points in the fourth quarter — that allowed the Cavs to end the league’s longest winning streak even with center Zydrunas Ilgauskas sidelined. It was the latest salvo in an incredibly strong finishing kick that has seen James zoom to the top of the Player Efficiency Rating charts and stake his claim for the MVP trophy.

    The numbers he’s been putting up of late are simply phenomenal. The man hasn’t been held under 25 in over a month. He’s scored 35 points or more in nine straight games, and in the month of April he’s averaging 38.4 points a game on 55.4 percent shooting. Throw in the improved clutch play, and the fact that he’s played far more minutes than any of the other candidates, and James has suddenly positioned himself near the top of the MVP debate.

    I’m not the only one frothing at the mouth about his crazy stats either — before the game Nets coach Lawrence Frank went Elias Sports Bureau on us and mentioned that James is on pace to be the fourth player in league history to average at least 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a season. The others were Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Michael Jordan.

    Of course, a lot of water still can go under the bridge in the season’s final 10 days. Dirk Nowitzki will be tough to ignore if Dallas takes the top record in the West, Kobe Bryant has a talentless Laker team headed to the playoffs, and even with his recent mini-slump Wade hasn’t completely fallen out of the picture.

    But after witnessing James’s maestro performance in New Jersey Saturday, and having seen what he’s accomplished over the past several weeks, I’m pondering a change in my MVP allegiance. As good as the others have been this season, it’s becoming increasingly clear that King James is ready to begin his reign.

    I admit that the stats don’t figure into it those years as much as I thought, but he still uses PER more then any other voter

  13. Jeff says...February 21, 2008 3:39 pm

    Ane last update- after digging throughchats, and the last time I was asked the question, here’s his answer as of 2/14/2008

    Who is your All-Star Break MVP?

    John Hollinger: LeBron has been the best player, Garnett has made the biggest impact on teammates, but they’ve both missed a bunch of games while Chris Paul has been brilliant every day. It’s hard to rate them 1 thru 3 right now, but those are definitely the top three in some order.

  14. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 3:42 pm

    @Jeff,

    Are you applying for a volunteer position as my editor? Because I think you just gave me an assignment.

    You work quick, man! Much of Hollinger’s arguments are still based on statistics, but at the same time, it’s clear that he uses a double standard when it fits his purposes — such as, when he wants to deny Kobe Bryant the MVP.

    Based on what he said recently, Hollinger should have had Kobe as a forerunner in the past two years — especially 2 years ago. But, as it turns out, Hollinger conveniently used the “winning” argument when it suited him, and ignores it when it doesn’t. Many of his points fit Kobe to a “T”, but he completely leaves him out.

    There is much more that I can say, but that is for an article soon to come. How soon? Well, probably not next. But soon.

    Hollinger… what a joke.

  15. Jeff says...February 21, 2008 3:47 pm

    You are quite welcome, sir- If you ever need an opinion looked up, I search DAMN quick- I shall be frequenting here much more foten to particiate in discussions :)

  16. jonjay says...February 21, 2008 7:26 pm

    i firmly, totally and vehemently agree that kobe is the real mvp…he has been robbed of this honor for the nth time now…i just cant imagine and calculate how KG been on the top of mvp race…statistically wise his numbers doesn’t even speak that well…not so impressive…gasol and odom do even have an impressive numbers than him…is something fishy going on around the nba?…they should check this out because this maybe the cause of its fall down…who knows?…even great empires do fall down…

  17. Kobe Bryant: MVP | Kobe Bryant says...February 21, 2008 7:37 pm

    [...] Read the rest of this great post here [...]

  18. harold says...February 21, 2008 8:00 pm

    ASG voting, as mentioned below, closed before Allen’s heroics.

    As for LeBron, he’s having a wonderful year statistically, but the fact that he’s racking up assists only highlight the fact that he has better teammates. Count hockey assists and passes that result in teammates going to the line, we may have a slightly different assist total for Kobe.

    Chris Paul, well, as much as a Kobe fan I am, I honestly find it difficult to say Kobe is clearly in front of Paul. At this moment, Paul is, I believe ahead of Kobe, esp since he is a PG and has this nice ‘makes teammates better’ thing going for him (in terms of assists and record). If their teams’ standings change, then it’d be a Kobe win, but right now, I think the MVP is Paul’s.

  19. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 9:33 pm

    @jonjay,

    i firmly, totally and vehemently agree that kobe is the real mvp…he has been robbed of this honor for the nth time now…

    We’re definitely on the same page as far as Kobe being the real MVP. But I have to disagree with you with regards to the past couple years. It’s true, I used to think as you do, that Kobe deserved the MVP over the last two years. However, if you’ve read the articles on this site, you’ll see I’ve come to understand the reasoning behind the unofficial 50+ wins rule (which I refer to as the Bryant-Nash Rule).

    And even if I didn’t understand it, and even agree with it (which I do), at the very least a person must eventually accept that it is what it is. It has been for 25 years, it’s not going to change for Kobe. All I ask is that it also not change for LeBron.

    That said, this year Kobe should be the obvious MVP.

    i just cant imagine and calculate how KG been on the top of mvp race…statistically wise his numbers doesn’t even speak that well…not so impressive…

    I agree with you on KG, but I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. It’s not necessarily about numbers. As I’ve mentioned, Kobe’s numbers are down over the past couple of years (though he’s the second-leading scorer in the league.)

    The bigger issue with Garnett, to try and sum it up in a nutshell, is that they are suggesting giving him an individual award on the basis of accomplishments that have are entirely team accomplishments, and for which his teammates and coaches deserve every bit as much credit as he does.

    gasol and odom do even have an impressive numbers than him…is something fishy going on around the nba?…they should check this out because this maybe the cause of its fall down…who knows?…even great empires do fall down…

    You’ve lost me here. I have no idea what the Odom and Gasol thing is. If you’re trying to imply they’ve had stronger seasons than Garnett, then I think you’re a bit crazy.

    And conspiracy theories? I think you’re reading way too much into this, here. I will say that there is a general unwillingness to recognize Kobe. But I wouldn’t go so far as conspiracy theories. And I definitely wouldn’t predict the fall of the NBA.

    Thanks for reading, though, and hey, everyone’s entitled to their opinion or perspective!

  20. Reid says...February 21, 2008 9:50 pm

    How anyone argues that Kobe isn’t the best player in the world is flat out ignorant. He is the best hands down, no one is even close. His skill set is every bit as good as Jordans if not better. The plays that he makes on both the defensive and offensive end of the court are flat out amazing.

  21. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 10:29 pm

    @Harold,

    ASG voting, as mentioned below, closed before Allen’s heroics.

    That’s quite true. But it does not excuse the sports media from heralding his performance while completely overlooking Allen’s, and from failing to call a spade a spade and recognize the error that had occurred due, primarily, to timing.

    As for LeBron, he’s having a wonderful year statistically, but the fact that he’s racking up assists only highlight the fact that he has better teammates. Count hockey assists and passes that result in teammates going to the line, we may have a slightly different assist total for Kobe.

    To further elaborate on the point you’re getting at with “hockey assists” (i.e., the pass before the assist), very little is ever said about how the Triangle Offense affects Kobe’s assist totals. The Triangle Offense is specifically designed to facilitate the extra pass, and it works by swinging the ball from one side to the other. The idea is that with the proper cuts and passes, there will always be an open man, and effective passing within the offense will get the ball to that open man.

    For the Lakers, the Triangle Offense starts with Kobe, and it works a bit differently with Kobe than it did with Shaq. Watch a Lakers game, and what you’ll notice is that often times, in the early offense, Kobe works via isolation sets or pick-n-rolls to draw double and triple teams. The result, often times, can be like a vacuum, as the defense collapses on Kobe. At this point, Kobe often passes out of the double- and triple-teams.

    For LeBron, this type of play usually results in a shot, some of which are makes and some are misses. However, if this happens enough times, some of those shots are bound to go down, resulting in inevitable assists for LeBron.

    For Kobe, however, the offense has only just begun. It is when he passes out of the double- or triple-team that the Triangle Offense really kicks into gear. At that point, there should be at least one, if not two wide open Lakers on the floor. The extra passes are made, and someone is eventually bound to get an open look.

    This does not result in an assist for Kobe. Nonetheless, the entire sequence started with and was made possible by Kobe.

    My wife often watches Lakers games with me, and I can’t tell you how many times I say to her, “You see, that all started with Kobe drawing the defense and then making the first pass.” She’s probably sick of hearing it by now.

    The point is, I believe Kobe to be as effective a passer, and as successful at involving his teammates, as LeBron. The true difference is that Kobe plays in an offense that tends to make every on the floor a facilitator, rather than one that requires him to do everything — whether that be scoring or assisting — directly.

    Chris Paul, well, as much as a Kobe fan I am, I honestly find it difficult to say Kobe is clearly in front of Paul. At this moment, Paul is, I believe ahead of Kobe, esp since he is a PG and has this nice ‘makes teammates better’ thing going for him (in terms of assists and record). If their teams’ standings change, then it’d be a Kobe win, but right now, I think the MVP is Paul’s.

    I completely disagree with you. We just got finished agreeing on how Kobe’s assist numbers are deceptive in that he facilitates, initiates, and creates far more of his teammates’ open looks than his assists reflect.

    Meanwhile, Kobe has done everything Chris Paul has done, and more, despite far more significant challenges. Paul has not had the injury challenges Kobe has had — either personally, or to so many of his teammates. He has not had to win with a team that was literally rebuilding on the fly. And he has had the benefit of a significantly easier schedule. But all the things that can be said about Paul can also be said about Kobe.

    I love what Chris Paul is doing, and I honestly would be able to tolerate him as the MVP. However, it’s not that he has failed to do anything — it’s more that Kobe has done even more, and in the face of much greater and more numerous challenges.

    As for their respective records? They’re one game apart. A 1-game difference is negligible. What it really translates into is both accomplishing the same thing — but, as I’ve said already, Kobe doing it under much, much more difficult circumstances, and with less and less consistent help.

    You simply can’t put Paul in front of Kobe right now. Especially with Kobe playing the way he is despite an injury that needs surgery, and that would likely sideline every single other player in the league except for Kobe.

    Kobe is the clear MVP. Paul is the only runner up, and a very good one, at that. There is no 3rd option.

  22. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 10:41 pm

    @Reid,

    How anyone argues that Kobe isn’t the best player in the world is flat out ignorant. He is the best hands down, no one is even close. His skill set is every bit as good as Jordans if not better. The plays that he makes on both the defensive and offensive end of the court are flat out amazing.

    Amen! Preach it, brotha!

    You’re right, of course. I believe that Kobe’s skills are better than Jordan’s were. I think the only reason Jordan remains greater than Kobe (I think Kobe is better, but Jordan is greater) is that he has won more. Well, that, and he can also thank Kobe for causing people to forget he ever had a single flaw.

    If Kobe wins as much in the next few years as I believe he will, that should be a moot point. No one can predict the future, and I’m not going to pretend to, but I believe he has every possibility of retiring as the greatest player of all time. But only time will tell if he gets there.

    But as for skills, he is better than Jordan. And anyone suggesting LeBron is at his level is simply daft… but I suspect you already knew that I felt that way!

  23. chocomm says...February 21, 2008 10:44 pm

    Was Jordan not a viable candidate when playing with Pippen and Kukoc? This article is so ridiculously biased towards Kobe that I had to stop myself from reading midway through.
    LeBron is winning games by himself with a bunch of scrubs that would be worse than the Seattle Sonics ; and in the meantime, he has improved his defense and his killer instinct in the 4th quarter. KG is a bona-fide MVP candidate because of the drastic transformation his team has undergone. Forget Allen or Pierce, he is the main reason they are who they are.
    Chris Paul is playing home games with one of the worst crowds in the league, and virtually no bench at all, yet they have the best record in the WCF. If you’re gonna talk about supporting cast, I’d say Kobe has the best supporting cast out of all these 4 candidates. Lamar, Pau, Andrew, Fisher, and a deep bench.

  24. The Apologist says...February 21, 2008 11:07 pm

    @chocomm,

    Was Jordan not a viable candidate when playing with Pippen and Kukoc?

    I’m not saying Garnett isn’t a viable MVP candidate because of his teammates. If you notice, I recognize Chris Paul as a very solid MVP candidate despite playing with another All-Star, a would-be All-Star, and the top 3-point shooter in the league.

    In KG’s case, I don’t consider him a viable candidate because the reasons for his candidacy are not areas in which he can claim more credit than his teammates. His teammates’ performance without him bears this out.

    This article is so ridiculously biased towards Kobe that I had to stop myself from reading midway through.

    Perhaps you should have finished reading, or refrained from commenting. That way, you could’ve at least prevented yourself from trying to raise points that were actually addressed in the article.

    As for my bias, you should read the About page for this website, where I state very clearly that my personal bias is obvious, but it is not my bias that is in question. It is the points and arguments I raise in making my case that are in question. And I have not seen you come even close to refuting a single one of them.

    LeBron is winning games by himself with a bunch of scrubs that would be worse than the Seattle Sonics ; and in the meantime, he has improved his defense and his killer instinct in the 4th quarter.

    LeBron’s accomplishments are great. Calling him an MVP candidate — let alone making a case for him as the favorite — is another thing altogether.

    LeBron’s supporting cast is better than Kobe’s was two years ago, and Kobe led the Lakers to the same record that LeBron and the Cavs are on pace for this year. But Kobe did it in the strong West, and LeBron has the benefit of a much easier schedule in the East.

    Again, I love what LeBron is doing, and I love how his game is improved. I have said many times on this site that I love him, and I hate arguing against him. He’s just not Kobe yet.

    KG is a bona-fide MVP candidate because of the drastic transformation his team has undergone. Forget Allen or Pierce, he is the main reason they are who they are.

    Funny that the Celtics did just fine without KG.

    And KG is the reason Allen and Pierce are who they are? Now you’re showing your ignorance. Allen and Pierce are both future Hall of Famers, and were great players without KG. Allen and Pierce did as much with their less-than-impressive rosters in Milwaukee, Seattle, and Boston as KG did with his in Minnesota.

    Chris Paul is playing home games with one of the worst crowds in the league, and virtually no bench at all, yet they have the best record in the WCF.

    I’ve made it very clear I strongly support Chris Paul’s accomplishments and his MVP candidacy. But the Hornets have played a MUCH easier schedule, and the Lakers deeper bench is easily offset by the endless injuries they have suffered. Of course, if you had read the whole article, I might not have to be repeating myself here.

    If you’re gonna talk about supporting cast, I’d say Kobe has the best supporting cast out of all these 4 candidates. Lamar, Pau, Andrew, Fisher, and a deep bench.

    Lamar is only any good when he can be a third or fourth option, Pau just arrived a few games ago, Andrew is out for 8 weeks, and Fisher is a veteran role player at best. The bench is very solid, but many on the bench have either been unavailable due to injury, or have become starters due to injuries to the starters.

    All of this was discussed at length in the article — most likely, the part that you neglected to read.

    People, seriously — what is it with haters commenting without reading??! READ, people!!

    I put it to you again. All these points and much, much more have been addressed in the article. Talk about my bias all you want, but until you can provide a decent response to any of the points I’ve made, your calling out my bias is simply a smokescreen, a way for you to distract attention from the iron-clad case I’ve made for Kobe as the MVP.

    And I’m going to say it one more time (though I’m not sure you’ll actually read it): Next time, try reading.

  25. erick says...February 22, 2008 2:56 am

    man, this site is respect. yeah, i would love to have kobe bag the MVP award for this season and the finals MVP. that would be sweet.

  26. JW Stringer says...February 22, 2008 10:55 am

    Kobe has my vote for MVP!

    JW Stringer
    http://pregame.com

  27. khandor says...February 22, 2008 11:07 am
  28. The Apologist says...February 22, 2008 1:13 pm

    @JW Stringer,

    Pregame.com looks pretty cool. Do you write for that website?

  29. khandor says...February 22, 2008 1:39 pm

    What’s the actual name of your blog? (for my blogroll)

  30. Tsiry says...February 22, 2008 3:00 pm

    TRUE!

  31. SoCalGal says...February 22, 2008 7:01 pm

    Something many people seem to forget although it’s been bugging me for years is that Carmelo Anthony and LeBron “I’m not really 23″ James were rookies the same year. Carmelo helped the Nuggets get to the WC playoffs. LeBron and the Cavs didn’t. Who was voted Rookie of the Year? Old Man LeBron, that’s who. How the hell is that fair? Because it was decided before he ever played his first game.

    Sound familiar?

  32. Anonymous says...February 22, 2008 11:20 pm

    Amen, glad somebody out there recognizes Kobe’s situation

  33. randomfan says...February 23, 2008 12:46 am

    Hey, I just stumbled upon this site and all I can say is…genius. You instantaneously became my favorite writer who discusses Kobe on the net. I imagine if I were to set up a website to write about Kobe, it would look exactly like yours; I don’t have a website, so I’ve occasionally written comments on various websites (e.g. espn, foxsports, etc) very similar arguments carried in the identical spirit as your website. I just thought I’d broach an interesting task: on youtube there is a member called therealbruceblitz who has posted a myriad of senseless videos with an explanation that purportedly prove jordan’s superiority over kobe. furthermore, have you seen the materials from http://kb24overrated.com? i would be interested to see you lead a campaign against the likes of these two, or at least knock some sense into them. Anyway, great job. You’re my hero.

  34. [...] Posting & Toasting. Satire for the good! Isiah Thomas, working the trade deadline phones.PG: Respect Kobe. Yesterday it was Chris Paul. Today? Kobe Bryant for MVP.6th: Deadspin. D-League dunk champ Brent [...]

  35. Mark says...February 23, 2008 4:16 am

    Wow, great analysis. Thanks for all the thoughtful analysis and superb writing. A pleasure to read. You nailed it.

  36. Awesome article! says...February 23, 2008 10:33 pm

    Being the huge Kobe fan that I have been since he came into the leage,I recently heard of this website and decided to take the time to read most of your articles and found them all very informative That said, most arguments are backed up with fair facts which are near impossible to counter. It is always a breath of fresh air to see someone (especially of obvious intellect) to keep Kobe’s greatness in check. You’ve done an excellent job! Thanks for the good reading.

  37. Anonymous says...February 24, 2008 12:27 am

    Genius. Do you get a vote?

  38. David Santos says...February 24, 2008 6:02 am

    I love Kobe, but this is the most biased article I’ve read.
    Hope you approve this one.

  39. lalball81 says...February 24, 2008 12:34 pm

    Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but I think what a lot of fans fail to realize is that Kobe and LeBron play in entirely different systems. Cleveland’s offense runs almost solely through LeBron James, which means he has to manufacture shots for just about everyone else. Naturally, this results in a higher assist total for James.

    However, anybody who has watched Kobe play AT ALL this season would realize that the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. Numerous times during the game Kobe will make the correct extra pass that will lead to an assist or two free throw attempts. Or he’ll get the hockey assist.

    The triangle is designed for ball movement, not for domination of the ball by a single player a la LeBron James. Not knocking James or Bryant, simply pointing out the difference in the structures of the offense for Cleveland and LA.

    Anyway, thanks for the article. It’s refreshing to read a Kobe article that is reasonable and so well though out.

  40. Anon says...February 24, 2008 1:24 pm

    LOL, LeBron’s team is only on pace to win 46, but if he had actually played the full season, they’d be an easy 50 win team, and if the entire team was actually healthy all year, they could be a 60 win team. LeBron is the MVP, all of you Kobe dick suckers will have to wait another year.

  41. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 1:28 pm

    @SoCalGal,

    Something many people seem to forget although it’s been bugging me for years is that Carmelo Anthony and LeBron “I’m not really 23″ James were rookies the same year. Carmelo helped the Nuggets get to the WC playoffs. LeBron and the Cavs didn’t. Who was voted Rookie of the Year? Old Man LeBron, that’s who. How the hell is that fair? Because it was decided before he ever played his first game.

    Sound familiar?

    Fantastic point! I love LeBron, but after the drop-off in fan interest following Jordan’s retirement, the NBA has seen him as its savior. He’s going to be insanely great, but they’ve just crowned him king a little too soon. He gets unfair advantages and favoritist judgments before he has actually deserved them.

  42. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 1:49 pm

    @randomfan,

    Thank you for your comliments. I’m glad you enjoy my work.

    I just thought I’d broach an interesting task: on youtube there is a member called therealbruceblitz who has posted a myriad of senseless videos with an explanation that purportedly prove jordan’s superiority over kobe. furthermore, have you seen the materials from http://kb24overrated.com? i would be interested to see you lead a campaign against the likes of these two, or at least knock some sense into them. Anyway, great job. You’re my hero.

    I am both eager and hesitant to take on either or both of these tasks. Since my reasons for being eager to do so should be obvious, I’ll tell you why I’m hesitant.

    First, it’s a lot of material Thus, while I could respond to a couple of individual arguments they make, to formulate a complete defense against their irrational arguments would be quite an effort. Unfortunately, I do not make any money off of this site. I would love it if, at some point, I could treat this as my day job, which would allow me the time to truly invest in this. At that point, I would definitely and gladly take on either or both of these people. However, at this point, I have a full-time day job, and when I come home, I have a wife whose company I very much enjoy (and who doesn’t count watching me write as “quality time”) — all of which only leaves me so much time for this project. So I don’t really have the luxury that many full-time bloggers enjoy of focusing my energy primarily towards my website.

    Since I only have a limited amount of time, I choose to write on the topics, and respond to the arguments, that are most relevant to the time, or those that dominate the anti-Kobe arguments. Most of the time, this will probably mean that I will choose to write on topics that I consider more important or more relevant than those silly arguments raised against Kobe by these people. But whenever I prepare to write on a topic that I feel is relevant and important, and can at the same time also “knock some sense into” either of these people, I will gladly kill two birds with one stone.

    The second reason is much more basic: They’re extremely devoted haters. Few such haters ever respond well to rational argumentation. Therefore, the purpose of my responding to them would obviously not be to have any effect on their positions, as that is highly unlikely. Instead, it would be to affect their readers, or perhaps just to use them as an example of the argument I wish to disprove. But since my goal, in such a situation, is once again to affect my readership, then that brings me back to my first reason above — I must choose those topics that most interest, or that will have the profoundest effect upon, my readers.

    Nonetheless, you give me some very interesting material to peruse, and I don’t doubt that some of it will, at times, work its way into my articles. Thanks for the heads up!

    Also, here’s a little thought for you: I’m very open to suggestions, so if you have any specific topic you would like to see me take on, whether or not it is an argument made by either of these guys, feel free to suggest it. I’ve got a pipeline of articles I want to write, but I’ll definitely put your suggestion in the mix, and get to it at some point.

    Thanks again for reading!

  43. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 1:51 pm

    @Awesome,

    I recently heard of this website and decided to take the time to read most of your articles and found them all very informative That said, most arguments are backed up with fair facts which are near impossible to counter. It is always a breath of fresh air to see someone (especially of obvious intellect) to keep Kobe’s greatness in check. You’ve done an excellent job! Thanks for the good reading.

    Thank you, and you’re welcome!

    I’m especially glad to see that you have clearly grasped the purpose of my website: Not just to defend Kobe against the critics, but to do so with rational, logical, and valid arguments. Thus, it is also a breath of fresh air for me when a reader like yourself understands my purpose and feels I have achieved it well, so far.

  44. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 1:57 pm

    @Anonymous,

    I’m afraid I don’t get a vote. In fact, there are a great number of authors and sports journalists more legitimate than myself that do not get a vote. (Not that my writing is not legitimate; but I am only part time, not professional, nor a part of the official media, and I am also far less prolific than they are — at least, so far.)

    I’m glad you like it, though. At this point, this site is just a drop in the ocean. But perhaps, in time, we can become a stronger, more audible voice that disproves the criticisms against Kobe and forces people to recognize his greatness.

    Then again, they say winning cures all ills, and if that’s true, well… Kobe may just silence his critics and turn them into fans over the course of the next few years, with or without help from anyone else.

  45. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 2:03 pm

    @David Santos,

    I love Kobe, but this is the most biased article I’ve read.

    Do you care to point out where, in this article, I have based my position on bias rather than on well thought out and articulated arguments?

    Please see my About page, where I explain why my personal bias is actually not what’s in question here. My bias is obvious, and is something I freely admit and don’t try to hide. What is in question is the arguments I make, and the points I use to support them.

    So I’d be more than glad for you to point out any argument I have made in this article that is based purely on opinion, bias, or unsubstantiated blanket statements, and is not supported by logical, valid points.

    Hope you approve this one.

    I don’t currently require that comments be moderated, and I never delete comments (except for spam) — regardless of whether or not they express a differing opinion from mine.

    I more than gladly welcome differing opnions. However, I do require one thing. I have backed up everything I have said with extensive, well thought out and articulated, and substantiated arguments. I only ask that you do the same.

    So, David… would you care to elaborate?

  46. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 2:09 pm

    @lalball81,

    Thank you for your compliments. You make a great point, which I believe I have discussed in comments, but have not yet had the chance to discuss in depth in an article.

    Cleveland’s offense is specifically designed to run through LeBron James on virtually every possession. The Lakers’ offense, on the other hand, is specifically designed to prevent one player from dominating the offense. Therefore, the disparity in assist totals between LeBron and Kobe must be taken in context.

    LeBron’s passes to teammates almost always result in a shot. Kobe’s, on the other hand, are often swung from side to side, fully utilizing the triangle offense, to find an open player. Thus, while it may have started with Kobe, and the open man may be open because of him, he doesn’t get an assist.

    It’s simple math: More of LeBron’s passes result in a shot taken by the teammate he passed to. More shots, more potential makes. More makes, more assists. It’s not that he’s a better passer or a better facilitator. It’s that the way the Cavs’ offense is designed turns more of his passes into shots.

  47. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 2:28 pm

    @Anon

    LOL, LeBron’s team is only on pace to win 46, but if he had actually played the full season, they’d be an easy 50 win team, and if the entire team was actually healthy all year, they could be a 60 win team. LeBron is the MVP, all of you Kobe dick suckers will have to wait another year.

    We’ve already been over this. See here, where a commenter who calls himself “You’re Stupid” attempts to use the same argument.

    Then, click here for my response.

    And to my response, you can also add a dislocated pinky on his shooting hand. This injury has since become one that requires surgery. Kobe played through it when it first was injured, and he continues to play through it despite the recommendation to get surgery.

    Here’s the point: Kobe suffered the same circumstance last year. He was out for a few games, but more than that, he lost most of his starters for major portions of the season. Prior to his teamamtes’ injuries, the Lakers were in fact on track for 55+ wins. But the voters don’t excuse the failure to reach 50+ wins because of injuries.

    Meanwhile, Kobe has had more reasons than LeBron, this season, to miss games. His injuries and ailments have been more frequent and more severe. Yet he has played through every single one, not missing a game. And he continues to do so, with a shooting hand that requires surgery!

    Meanwhile, LeBron’s injury was far less serious (no surgery needed there), and it was to his non-shooting hand.

    Thus, by playing through injuries far more serious than LeBron’s, Kobe has rendered LeBron’s injury-based argument moot.

  48. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 2:30 pm

    @Anon,

    One more thing: “D*ck suckers” is an inflammatory and offensive term. Not only do you completely disrespect yourself and everyone else on this site when you use it, but you make yourself appear childish and bitter.

    Furthermore, if you use language like that again, your comment will be deleted.

  49. Don (With Malice...) says...February 24, 2008 7:17 pm

    Nicely written… but it’s difficult to take you as ‘unbiased’ given the name of the site. ;)

    Perhaps the next time we discuss something like this on my site, I should be inviting you…

    Good stuff, enjoyed the read.

    D

  50. The Apologist says...February 24, 2008 8:47 pm

    @Don (With Malice…),

    Thanks for the compliment. I enjoy your site as well.

    Nicely written… but it’s difficult to take you as ‘unbiased’ given the name of the site.

    The concept of bias is actually one that I’ve discussed in my About page. You should check that out. Basically, my position is that my bias is clear and obvious, and I neither deny it nor attempt to hide it. But my bias is not what is in question — the position I am taking on a specific topic is what’s in question. So, regardless of my bias, the question is whether or not the position I have taken, and the arguments and points I have made to support it, are valid, well-substantiated, logical, and rational. So, when a reader attempts to dismiss my position by pointing out my bias, I generally point out that I’m not trying to hide my bias, and ask that the reader direct his criticism towards any specific points I have made in an article.

    So far, none has been able to do so.

    Perhaps the next time we discuss something like this on my site, I should be inviting you…

    I would very much enjoy any opportunity to participate in a discussion on your site. Your input is also welcome here.

  51. rAb!8 says...February 25, 2008 2:32 am

    great site bro.. i also feel and think that kobe WILL WIN HIS FIRST MVP this yr.. no matter what the haters/media says.. LeBron isn’t at kobe”s level.. i just don’t see LebRon being MVP.. he is just a BIG man in a small forwards body that dunks here and there NOTHING else.. KOBE THE REAL MVP! =)

  52. The Apologist says...February 25, 2008 7:37 am

    @rAb!8,

    I personally believe LeBron is quite a bit more than just that. However, I do agree with you that he is not at Kobe’s level, and I don’t think he’s close yet. But I do think he’s closest.

    That said, I do agree with you, more and more with each game the Lakers win, that this looks like Kobe’s year for MVP. Clearly I think he should be the MVP. However, in this case I’m becoming more and more convinced that he will be the MVP.

    The Lakers are currently 39-17. That’s a .696 winning percentage. Their current hot streak has them winning 11 of their last 12, which is a current pace of .917. Finally, they’ve won 9 of their 10 games with Pau Gasol in the lineup, which represents a post-trade pace of .900.

    So, an optimistic projection is that they’ll continue at their 11-12 pace, which would result in 24 wins in the next 26 games for a final record of 63-19.

    Or, you could project based on their winning percentage with Pau Gasol, which would result in 23 wins in the next 26 games for a final record of 62-20.

    Or you could go with the conservative estimate, and calculate based on their overall winning percentage, despite their obvious increased performance since Pau Gasol joined the lineup. Their current .696 overall record, if maintained, would give them a final record of 57-25.

    Thus, it is reasonable to see the Lakers winning anywhere from 57 to 63 games this season. I personally think it’s being extremely pessimistic to go solely based on their overall season record, and that their current pace must be calculated from the time Pau Gasol joined the roster, so I’m looking for the Lakers to lose only 3 to 4 more games, and finish with over 60 wins this season.

    Given everything I’ve written in my article above, I think that if the Lakers break the 60-win mark this year, there will be no way they can deny Kobe the MVP.

    So, that’s the long answer… the short answer is that I think you’re right, that unless something completely unforeseen causes the Lakers to lose a lot more games than I think they will, he will be the obvious choice and will win the award this year.

  53. khandor says...February 25, 2008 11:12 am

    I agree.

    Kobe wins the MVP Award this season … if the Lakers just do what Phil Jackson has predicted it will take to finish with the best record overall in the Western Conference, between now and the end of the regular season, i.e. 25-5 folowing the All-Star Break.

    Kobe, Gasol, Lamar & Fisher are the keys to their success right now.

    As long as one of these players doesn’t sustain a debilitating injury that removes him from the line-up for a series of games, this team will accomplish that W-L goal.

    Then, once Bynum returns … and, continues to make the type of progress he was showing, as an elite level player, pre-injury … and, Trevor Ariza (who’s defense & rebounding, are first-rate, at the wing position) returns … the Lake Show/v.2008 will be right on schedule to compete forociously for their next series of NBA championships over he next 10 years.

    Some astute observers in sports world, actually saw this one coming quite some time ago …

    http://khandorssportsblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/the-best-teams-in-the-nba-part-i/

    Cheers (to all) :-)

  54. Ali says...February 25, 2008 2:58 pm

    that was beautiful,thank u

  55. curtis says...February 25, 2008 3:07 pm

    If Bynum were healthy and in the East, you don’t think he’d have been an All-Star? You compare Bynum’s numbers to Ilgauskas’, but did you forget that Ilgauskas was an All-Star? Do you think David West would be an All-Star in the West? Would Tyson Chandler even be considered for All-Star status in the West?

    You should take these questions into consideration when comparing the supporting casts of Paul and Bryant (who now has Gasol, who was an All-Star in the West).

  56. The Apologist says...February 25, 2008 3:18 pm

    @curtis,

    Time to check your facts:

    If Bynum were healthy and in the East, you don’t think he’d have been an All-Star? You compare Bynum’s numbers to Ilgauskas’, but did you forget that Ilgauskas was an All-Star?

    “Was” and “is” are two very different things. In particular, they speak to the competition. As you have pointed out yourself, a player’s performance has to be judged relative to his competition. Bynum and Ilgauskas are averaging similar numbers — so since Ilgauskas isn’t an All-Star in the East, why would Bynum be?

    Do you think David West would be an All-Star in the West? Would Tyson Chandler even be considered for All-Star status in the West?

    News Flash: David West and Tyson Chandler are both members of the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets DO play in the West.

    So, I guess the answer to your questions would be, yes, I do think David West would be an All Star in the West, and yes, I do think Tyson Chandler would be considered for All Star status in the West.

    You should take these questions into consideration when comparing the supporting casts of Paul and Bryant (who now has Gasol, who was an All-Star in the West).

    As you can see, I actually did just that.

    Regarding Gasol — you just now attempted to devalue the status of players because you thought they played in the East. Your point was that in the West, they wouldn’t be All Stars.

    So, how do you turn around and forget that argument for Gasol? Again, “was” and “is” are not the same. Gasol was an All Star in the West in the past, but he is not one this year.

    Furthermore, as I already pointed out in the article (I think more than once?), Gasol has only recently showed up. Kobe has achieved virtually everything I mentioned without him. The Lakers were already considered contenders before he arrived. His arrival made them favorites.

    Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett, on the other hand, played with their All Star teammates the entire season — so their accomplishments of this season belong also to their All Star teammates, unlike Gasol, who joined a team that had already outperformed all expectations and was already on a 55+ win pace.

  57. Brittney Meadows says...February 25, 2008 6:35 pm

    All I have to say is yes finally someone is saying what I’ve been wanted to say and pointing out the facts that I’ve been trying to show others who think Lebron should win. This was a great article to read and everyone should now Know without a doubt that Kobe is MVP this year and if not then we all will know something is wrong.

  58. Anonymous says...February 25, 2008 6:55 pm

    ditto…well said….nothin’ but the truth!!!!

  59. Anna says...February 25, 2008 7:03 pm

    i love the way you write

  60. Meraz Ahmad says...February 25, 2008 9:35 pm

    Hey man,

    You’re an excellent writer. I loved the article, true to the very end. I am guessing this is just a fan site and it’s my first time reading it… But I am really impressed, and if you’re looking for writers please let me know and I would be happy to write up something for you (I am a pretty good writer…) Let me know if you want some samples.

    Best regards,

    Meraz

  61. The Apologist says...February 25, 2008 10:47 pm

    @Meraz,

    Thank you for the compliment. You are correct — this is the work of one person who is only able to work on this in his spare time, though I would love for it to become more.

    I would gladly welcome any guest writing. Though, of course you understand that I would edit any guest writing to meet the standards of this website, and I may also add some editor’s commentary in spots where I may have insight into your subject matter. However, of course, any edits would be sent back to you for approval before being posted, and you would be credited for your writing. If this is acceptable to you, why don’t you send me an email with some ideas you have for a guest article you might be interested in writing? You can email me at apologist@respectkobe.com.

    Thanks again for the compliments, and I look forward to hearing from you.

  62. JP says...February 26, 2008 7:53 am

    In terms of your get out of jail card for Lebest. The votes are tallied before the end of the game. I believe they are tallied at the end of the 3rd quarter or beginning of 4th. The same thing happened in an all star game when MJ got it and Shaq may have deserved it. I’d take Lebron any day over Kobe too, by the way.

  63. The Apologist says...February 26, 2008 10:47 am

    @JP,

    In terms of your get out of jail card for Lebest. The votes are tallied before the end of the game. I believe they are tallied at the end of the 3rd quarter or beginning of 4th. The same thing happened in an all star game when MJ got it and Shaq may have deserved it.

    Please see here, and also here, since we’ve already discussed this issue.

    To summarize: It’s more understandable that LeBron received the Award, due to the voting system. However, it is absolutely unacceptable that the NBA uses such an inadequate system for determining the MVP.

    Furthermore, LeBron’s Get Out of Jail Free card is demonstrated no less fully by the fact that, after all was said and done, virtually nobody in the sports media spoke up to point out that the MVP was awarded incorrectly due to the voting system. Instead, sports writers everywhere gushed about LeBron’s MVP performance, and even insisted that it was deserved.

    While I hold the voting system in utter contempt and feel it must immediately be corrected, I can accept that the award was given incorrectly due to the early voting system. What I cannot accept is that everyone who should have known better swallowed their tongues, choosing instead to bow down to the prematurely crowned “King” and act as though nothing happened. If that doesn’t show favoritism and a willingness to overlook anything that prevents LeBron from receiving recognition, nothing could.

    I’d take Lebron any day over Kobe too, by the way.

    And that is why everyone is entitled to their opinion. Good for you.

  64. carlo says...February 27, 2008 8:37 am

    Im confused? Why is Kevin Garnett ranked as the best player out of boston celtics…While it is clear that Paul Pierce is the leader and the more agresive player in that team…That being said, it is the reason why Kobe should win the MVP…coz garnett should not be a candidate…

  65. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 8:47 am

    @carlo,

    It’s a valid point. I think an argument as to who is more valuable to the Celtics can be made either way. Maurice Brooks, in NBA.com’s Race to the MVP, agrees with you, ranking Pierce above Garnett.

    While a case can be made for either of them as being the MVP of the Celtics, I think it should be clear by now that neither of them is a true candidate for MVP of the entire NBA. With every passing day, it becomes more and more clear that the league MVP is Kobe Bryant.

  66. Brittney M says...February 27, 2008 9:17 am

    Jay Marotti on ESPN’s Around the Horn did question the ALL-STAR MVP after the All-Star game and said on the show that Ray Allen should of been MVP but his comments on the show were brushed away and no one else on the pannel saw anything wrong or commented towards his comment. I guess all we can do is look forward and hope the next few ALL-Star games won’t end the same way.

  67. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 9:22 am

    @Britney M,

    That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I think I’ve seen one other article, on an independent news site not associated with the major sports media, that briefly dealt with the issue — it didn’t really discuss the issue, but in a related article it had a poll asking whether Ray Allen should have been the true MVP. The results were overwhelmingly “YES”.

    And that’s my point. Those who have tried to mention it are very, very few, and very, very far between… and when they did, they’re usually dismissed, laughed at, etc.

  68. khandor says...February 27, 2008 9:43 am

    re: “Im confused? Why is Kevin Garnett ranked as the best player out of boston celtics…While it is clear that Paul Pierce is the leader and the more agresive player in that team…”

    If you’ve watched Boston play a number of times this season, it is crystal clear who’s ‘conducting the orchestra’ for this group of Celtics … i.e. Kevin Garnett … and, it’s not even close.

    KG has set the tone this season, for their team … from the very outset, in pre-season … and is responsible for what the C’s have accomplished to-date … granted, which isn’t really all THAT much, in the grand scheme of things … WORKING IN CONJUNCTION WITH PAUL PIERCE & RAY ALLEN, no doubt.

    That said,

    Danny Ainge … doesn’t really matter
    Doc Rivers … doesn’t really matter
    Thom Thibodeau … doesn’t really matter
    Big Baby Davis, James Posey, Eddie House, etc. … don’t really matter

    and even

    Ray Allen & Paul Pierce … don’t really matter

    as, without the ‘Big Ticket’ … fulfilling the multiple roles of (i) Defensive Anchor, (ii) Emotional Barometer, and (iii) Rebounding Engine, for this team …

    Boston is at-best an average squad in the Eastern Conference this year.

    With the Celtics’ recent slippage, is KG still THE leading candidate for the league MVP-award this season?

    Probably not.

    But please not ever make the mistake of confusing the CENTRIFUGAL FORCE he is with their team with the supporting cast roles played by Paul Pierce, Ray Allen & others.

  69. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 10:11 am

    @khandor,

    Also a very valid position.

    The case can be made for either. Certainly, the fact that the Celtics went 7-2 without Garnett, and then lost their first three as soon as he returned, makes Carlo’s point a valid one (note: valid isn’t the same as correct, it only means it has validity).

    Nonetheless, you make some great points. These are the points that have been cited by many who see KG as an MVP candidate.

    However, you’re wrong on two things. First, do not devalue the importance of Tom Thibodeau. It is NOT a coincidence that Houston’s defense was so strong last year, and then magically Boston’s defense is this year. He must receive a lot of credit for the defense.

    Second, you label Ray Allen and Paul Peirce as “role players” — which they are absolutely not. They may not be the #1 on the team, and they may not be the MVP of the team. But they are star players, All Stars. They are NOT role players. And while Garnett may deserve the largest share of credit, they also deserve a considerable amount of credit for Boston’s accomplishments.

    As I’ve said, it’s much like Detroit. Who’s the anchor of that team? Chauncey Billups, obviously. But with guys like Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton, etc., Chauncey Billups is not a true MVP candidate — he’s just the best and the leader on a team of All Stars.

    Same with KG on the Celtics. Like Detroit, Boston has no true MVP candidate.

  70. khandor says...February 27, 2008 11:49 am

    1) When ‘Larry Legend, Frankenstein & the Chief’ were running together in Beantown … all three were All-Star calibre players but only 1 was truly an MVP candidate … the other two reduced to exceptionally talented ‘Role Players’ for those great Celtic teams.

    Having other elite level players on your squad (like Allen & Pierce), as Magic also had back-in-the-day for the Showtime Lakers (e.g. James Worthy & Kareem) … does not automatically disqualify a CENTRIFUGAL FORCE player like KG from deserving just recognition as a worthy MVP-candidate for the 2007-2008 Celtics.

    2) By all accounts Tom Thibodeau is an outstanding defensive coach … but, in my experience, every single high level coach I know will tell you him/herself that what they know or don’t know, do or do not teach, simply pales in comparison to the value of a Great Player who buys in to their approach toward Defense AND leads BY EXAMPLE every second of every minute of every hour of every day during the season.

    Tom Thibodeau doesn’t matter squat with this group of Celtics without the presence (belief, energy, and commitment) of Kevin Garnett.

  71. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 1:14 pm

    1) When ‘Larry Legend, Frankenstein & the Chief’ were running together in Beantown … all three were All-Star calibre players but only 1 was truly an MVP candidate … the other two reduced to exceptionally talented ‘Role Players’ for those great Celtic teams.

    Again, they may have been numbers two and three on the totem pole, but they were NOT role players. There’s a huge difference between not being the go-to guy on your team and being a role player.

    Having other elite level players on your squad (like Allen & Pierce), as Magic also had back-in-the-day for the Showtime Lakers (e.g. James Worthy & Kareem) … does not automatically disqualify a CENTRIFUGAL FORCE player like KG from deserving just recognition as a worthy MVP-candidate for the 2007-2008 Celtics.

    That’s true. But as I’ve said before, I am not saying he’s not a true MVP candidate simply because he plays with other All Stars. So does Chris Paul, but I consider him a valid candidate.

    I don’t consider him a valid candidate for many other reasons. Mainly, it’s because the specific reasons for which he is being considered are NOT things that are unique, or even that primary, to him. Others can claim a large amount of credit for each of those things as well. As I mentioned, Boston won 7-2 without him, and their record is one of the major reasons he’s in consideration. Also, without him their defense was still Top 10 in the NBA — so while he certainly helps a lot on the defensive end, he’s not the sole reason they’re a top defensive team. Furthermore, he plays in the East, and I’ve already discussed how similar contributions in the West are worth more.

    But here’s the biggest difference. Were there no other, more deserving MVP candidates, I don’t care if the MVP plays with five other All Stars. In the years that Magic and Larry won it with lots of help, it was also very clear that, despite their All Star help, Magic and Larry were by far the MVP candidates. The same cannot be said for KG.

    Also: Plain and simple, KG just is not Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. He’s not close.

    2) By all accounts Tom Thibodeau is an outstanding defensive coach … but, in my experience, every single high level coach I know will tell you him/herself that what they know or don’t know, do or do not teach, simply pales in comparison to the value of a Great Player who buys in to their approach toward Defense AND leads BY EXAMPLE every second of every minute of every hour of every day during the season.

    Tom Thibodeau doesn’t matter squat with this group of Celtics without the presence (belief, energy, and commitment) of Kevin Garnett.

    You know, Shaq and Kobe were together before Phil Jackson showed up. But it wasn’t until Jackson showed up that the Lakers suddenly began to win. In fact, he took the Lakers to a championship in the first year. Sure, as a coach he couldn’t have done that without Shaq and Kobe, just like Thibodeau couldn’t do this without KG (though I think that’s a bit more debatable). But at the same time, Shaq and Kobe couldn’t do it without Jackson. Don’t underestimate the value of a top coach.

    Kevin Garnett or not, this team would be a MUCH weaker team without Thibodeau. And that’s why he gets a lot of the credit for the defense.

  72. khandor says...February 27, 2008 1:43 pm

    Who did Boston play when they went 7-2 without KG?

    Who did they beat and who did they lose to?

    When using a team’s W-L loss record to validate the worth of a single player to that team … these are important details to consider.

  73. khandor says...February 27, 2008 2:01 pm

    When you begin to compare the role of an ‘assistant coach’ in Boston this year to that of head coach Phil Jackson in the maturation process of Kobe & Shaq, in LA … then you’ve started to over-extend your reach.

    There is no single player in the game today … with his unique skill set … that could have fueled the Celtics fire this season, in conjunction with Pierce & Allen, as KG has done.

    You and I will have to agree to disagree about what it means to be one of several different types of ‘role players’ on a championship NBA team.

    e.g. For me, when great players get together on one team and willing defer to one man, then that team, that year, has but ’1 Star/Central Player’ and 11 foot soldiers, each with a different level of responsibility which contributes to their collective success; although you might have a different perspective.

  74. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 2:11 pm

    @khandor,

    It’s a good point, it definitely is. After all, I’m the one who emphasizes taking statistics in context.

    The Celtics Strength of Schedule during those 9 games was .440 — a bit easier than their season average of .487. So I’ll definintely give you that. However, keep in mind that it’s not like the Celtics have had a tough schedule all season — their season-long Strength of Schedule is 3rd easiest in the NBA.

    So with Garnett, they won 82.9% of their games against easy opponents. Without him, they won 77.7% of their games against easier opponents. There’s definitely something there — but it’s not as though they won against really tough opponents before he was injured, and then won against easy opponents while he was out.

    In addition, five of these games were on the road, and two of their wins were against the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks — two of the best in the West.

    Their two loses, meanwhile, were by a combined 4 points, and came against teams that had also beaten Boston with KG in the lineup.

    Their Win Margin without KG was 5.33 — quite a bit lower than their 9.85 season average, but still good enough for 2nd in the East and 4th in the entire NBA.

    I’m not saying they weren’t weaker without him. I already mentioned that their defense gave up more points without him. My point is just that, despite being weaker without him, they were still pretty strong. They maintained one of the top defenses, one of the top win margins, and a very solid win-loss record.

    So yes, you’re right, the Strength of Schedule definitely matters. But not enough to make all of this irrelevant.

  75. JB says...February 27, 2008 2:13 pm

    I enjoy your posts and appreciate the KOBE love, but it sounds a little bit like you have a few “issues” with LeBron.

  76. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 2:16 pm

    @khandor,

    It’s not overreaching at all, when we’re talking about a subset of the game — defense. If I said Thibodeau is the reason they’re better overall, that would be ridiculous. But I’m saying Thibodeau is the reason they’re so strong in one specific area — and that area happens to be the area that he is specially in charge of, defense. He’s much like a defensive coordinator in the NFL — which is more unusual in the NBA, but true in this case. Because defense is his area, it’s not overreaching to compare him in that way. Again, Garnett’s presence wouldn’t result in such a stifling defense without Thibodeau.

    Regarding role players: When you have three players averaging more or less 20 points per game, two of them aren’t role players. Your team’s high scorer (Paul Peirce) isn’t a role player. You can say they’re less important, and I’d respond that that’s your opinion, but a valid one. But you can’t call them “role players,” because that’s a term with a pretty clear definition in the NBA.

  77. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 2:27 pm

    @JB,

    I enjoy your posts and appreciate the KOBE love, but it sounds a little bit like you have a few “issues” with LeBron.

    Actually, it’s quite the opposite. And I’ve got an article in the works on this — the issue of why I talk so much about LeBron.

    I’ve said before that I think he’s the only one close to Kobe. I’ve also said that I believe he definitely has the potential to surpass Kobe by the time he’s done — and not only Kobe, but Michael Jordan as well! Clearly, I’d have to think pretty highly of him to say such things. There’s no one else playing that I think has even the remotest chance of coming close to Kobe by the time he’s done. Only LeBron.

    So why do I write so much about him (usually to show how he’s not as good as Kobe)? It’s pretty simple: I write about what is most relevant, most timely, and most significant in the debate surrounding Kobe Bryant. A couple years ago, it would have been that he’s a ball hog and doesn’t make his teammates better. Since that was the primary criticism, that would have been one of my primary issues, and you would have heard a lot about it.

    Right now, it’s all about LeBron. I think he’s FREAKIN’ AMAZING… but I don’t think he’s eclipsed Kobe yet, nor will he for quite a while. But since people talk about that so much, and in so many different ways, and from so many different angles, it just so happens that that is the hot topic of the day. And as one of the primary issues in the Kobe debate, it’s one that I address frequently.

    I love LeBron. I just think a player who hasn’t yet performed well in the Finals doesn’t deserve to be crowned yet. At least Dwyane Wade did that much — and now, a couple years later, it’s clear that even though he did that, he was still given too much credit, too soon.

    I plan on relishing LeBron James’ career. It’s going to be exciting to watch him play, a true privilege. But I also plan on keeping things in perspective, rather than donning the rose-colored glasses the NBA desperately wants us all to wear.

  78. khandor says...February 27, 2008 4:42 pm

    1) Comparing the role of a Defensive Coordinator in the NFL to the role of an assistant coach in the NBA is like comparing apples to oranges.

    Both are members of the same family but each produces juice with a flavour entirely different than the other.

    The same people I’ve read & heard giving credit to Thibodeau’s contribution are the ones who are First & Foremost giving their most effusive praise to Kevin Garnett … for being the ‘Straw that stirs the drink” this season for the Celtics.

    In my book, it’s invalid to invalidate a player from consideration for the league MVP award due to the existence and contribution to the team’s defensive performance of a specific assistant coach.

    As the old saying goes, “Only players win and lose basketball games, as there’s never been a coach yet – either head or asistant – at least that I know of (except, of course, the GREAT BILL RUSSELL when he played & coached simultaneously) who has yet to score a basket, collect a rebound or blocked a shot, etc., in an NBA game.

    Players win (or lose) the league MVP award on their own. :-)

    2) As I’ve said already, you and I will just have to disagree, re: what constitutes a ‘role player’ on a team considered to have a ‘Big 3′ but, alas, only 1 legitimate candidate for the MVP award (as was the case on the great Celtics teams with Bird, McHale & Parrish). :-)

  79. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 5:16 pm

    @khandor,

    Not denying that KG is the one that makes it happen on the court.

    In my book, it’s invalid to invalidate a player from consideration for the league MVP award due to the existence and contribution to the team’s defensive performance of a specific assistant coach.

    Touché. I can handle that.

    Though, I’m pretty sure I never disqualified him for one single reason. Nonetheless, I’m willing to recognize your arguments and say that he is a valid candidate — but as an outside chance, not as a front-runner, as there are much better options in CP3 and KB24.

    Regarding role players: If you want to agree to disagree, that’s fine. But is it that hard recognize that there is a kind of player in between a team leader/#1 go-to guy/MVP type player and a role player? Do you really think there are only two speeds in the NBA, super good and just okay? You don’t think there are additional levels that fit in between the Kobe Bryants and the Luke Waltons?

    That’s all I’m saying. Kobe’s a superstar, MVP type of player. Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmonovic, etc., are role players. But there’s an in-between — the Pau Gasols and Lamar Odoms.

  80. khandor says...February 27, 2008 6:35 pm

    re: “You don’t think there are additional levels that fit in between the Kobe Bryants and the Luke Waltons?

    That’s all I’m saying. Kobe’s a superstar, MVP type of player. Luke Walton, Vladimir Radmonovic, etc., are role players. But there’s an in-between — the Pau Gasols and Lamar Odoms.”

    Fair enough.

    Then, how about you and me agree to use the following 3 categories for player designations in the NBA:

    i) ‘Straws-that-stir-the-drink’ Players = MVP Candidates (e.g. Kobe, LBJ, KG, etc.)
    ii) Other ‘High-Calibre’ Players (who don’t stir the drink) = Multi-dimensional (Role) Players (e.g. Pierce, Allen, Gasol, Odom, etc.)
    iii) Other ‘Non High-Calibre’ Players (who are stirred, not shaken) = Uni-dimensional Role Players (e.g. Rondo, Perkins, Fisher, Vujacic, etc.)
    :-) :-) :-)

    PS. It’s important to find a common/middle ground (if at all possible) with someone whose opinion you respect.

  81. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 7:40 pm

    @khandor,

    Then, how about you and me agree to use the following 3 categories for player designations in the NBA:
    i) ‘Straws-that-stir-the-drink’ Players = MVP Candidates (e.g. Kobe, LBJ, KG, etc.)
    ii) Other ‘High-Calibre’ Players (who don’t stir the drink) = Multi-dimensional (Role) Players (e.g. Pierce, Allen, Gasol, Odom, etc.)
    iii) Other ‘Non High-Calibre’ Players (who are stirred, not shaken) = Uni-dimensional Role Players (e.g. Rondo, Perkins, Fisher, Vujacic, etc.)

    I can absolutely agree to that. Glad we can each come to see where the other person is coming from.

    It’s important to find a common/middle ground (if at all possible) with someone whose opinion you respect.

    Fully agree. You argue well, and you make a solid case for your position. Even in what ways we still see things differently, I can definitely see where you’re coming from.

  82. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 7:43 pm

    P.S.

    I don’t think KG, throughout his entire career, is the “stirs the drink type of player” — however, I do think he is that type of player in Boston this year. I think the BS he went through in Minny, the pent up frustration of a career wasted by those he trusted and respected at every turn, and the possibility of retiring without a ring have motivated him tremendously, and as a result of that motivation, he has become a player that he might not ever have been, had he not had such powerful motivation from such negative circumstances. This year, he is driven — and rejuvenated, all at the same time, by finally having a chance.

  83. khandor says...February 27, 2008 8:25 pm

    You want to see what’s motivating Garnett this season?

    This link is from my blog:

    http://khandorssportsblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/the-man-at-crunch-time/

    It’s my all-time favourite KG moment … and the source of much of my personal respect for this fine young man, and the passion he brings to Life, everyday.

    Basketball is (indeed) a brotherhood.

    … that said, I, like you perhaps, do my very best to see things from different perspectives, warts and all … hence, my observation in that specific blog entry about Kevin’s ‘fundamental flaw’, as an elite level hoopster ‘For the Ages’ … up to this point in his advancing career.

    I am not a Celtics fan, by any means … but, after watching this video clip … I can say quite honestly, that there is nothing I’d like to see more this season than this young man holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy above his head, sometime in June/08.

    Orville Wright … “We not Me. – Muhammad Ali :-)

  84. The Apologist says...February 27, 2008 9:57 pm

    @khandor,

    I just finished watching the KG video on your blog. I’m speechless.

    It’s very rare that someone as verbose as myself simply doesn’t know what to say… or have the words.

  85. khandor says...February 28, 2008 5:09 am

    R.E.S.P.E.C.T.Aretha

    :-)

  86. What Is My Issue With LeBron? : Respect Kobe says...February 28, 2008 6:08 pm

    [...] because of the respective strength and weakness of their conferences. Finally, I made the case for Kobe Bryant as MVP, and in so doing revisited why LeBron should not be considered a valid MVP candidate for this [...]

  87. billabij says...March 6, 2008 10:37 pm

    man props to you for this great site and i think kobe will take home mvp honors too.  keep up the good work! peace!

  88. Marcus Hammonds says...March 9, 2008 12:22 pm

    I enjoyed every article you wrote. It’s about tiem we have someone who realizes the difference between Kobe and Lebron. I too, respect Lebron, but he just is not better than Kobe right now. He could possibly reach Kobe’s level someday, possibly MJ’s too. The question i say answers whether or not Lebron will be better than Kobe or MJ is his dominance at Kobe’s age. Once he loses that spring in his step, just how well will he dominate? Will he shooting be as good as Kobe or MJ by the time he is Kobe’s age? Lebron has to work on a few areas to match Kobe’s level of greatness, so we he catch up in all of those areas (defense, shooting[FT, 3PT], killer instinct) by the time he loses his jumping ability? I think once Kobe retires Lebron will truly be the best in the league, but I’m not too sure if Lebron will be as good at Kobe’s age; not to knock on Lebron’s game or anything.

  89. EriQ says...March 13, 2008 4:35 pm

    LAL 0-2 vs BOS
    LAL 1-1 vs DET
    LAL 0-2 vs CLE
    LAL 1-1 vs ORL
    LAL 1-2 vs SAS
    That’s 3-8 vs the best the league has to offer… With Kobe healthyWed Nov 28, CLE loses 6 games w/o Lebron , CLE 9-6 on Nov 27… LAL 8-6.
    CLE  2-1  vs BOS w/ Lebron
    CLE 0-1 vs  DET Lebron injured  1st have doesn’t return for 5 games.
    CLE 2-0 vs LAL Lebron drops, 33 and 41pts on LAL game high for BOTH TEAMS!
    CLE 1-1 vs ORL
    CLE 1-1 vs SAS
    That’s 6-3 vs the same elite teams… With Lebron Healthy
    CLE 38-28 vs LAL 45-19 : assuming LBJ never gets sidelined and CLE wins those six games your now talking about CLE 44-22 vs LAL 45-19. Then what if you consider LAL’s record if the Pau Gasol steal/trade never saves LAL long road trip down elite hell… You tell me if LAL records means they have the MVP… Not really. LAL record is the only thing LA can hold onto.Take a stroll down “What-have-you-done-for-me-lately?” or to be exact “2008”.1.       Lebron covers Kobe in final seconds of each game, Kobe misses final shot and loses the game.2.       LeBron takes MVP allstar game.3.       LeBron  passes Kobe as the youngest 23 year old hit the 10,000 pts mark. (in less games as well)4.       LeBron locks the leagues 2008 scoring title down.5.       Lebron  ppg 31.0 rebs 8.1 ast 7.46.       Lebron leading the league in 50 pt games this year.7.       LeBron the only player to have back to back triple doubles.8.       LeBron’s Defensive stats vs Kobe’s :    BLKS  LBJ  1.07, KB .53, STL LBJ 2.0, KB 2.0, DEF REB LBJ 6.3, KB 5.0 FOULS LBJ 2.2 , KB 2.6  What can you dig up for Kobe in the grand ole 08? By the way he is a great player and hats off to him for evolving as a player, but back to the question… Anything?_____________________________________________________________________________________
    CLE can only lose 4 of their final 17 games in order to stay above .500.  CLE has 6 tough games left 3 vs DET 2 vs ORL 1 vs NORThe rest are easy games. It will be tough but as long as CLE beats two of those six elite teams they can say they hit .500 despite having 3 starters at a time injured.The always misleading statement “LBJ should be doing better in the eastern conference!”FACT: CLE is 20-16 vs the Eastern conference (remember 6 of those losses were without LeBron so, actually 20-10)FACT: LAL is 19-9 vs the SAME EASTERN CONFERENCE! You know the Leastern?!?CLE  17-12 VS WEST COMPARED TO LAL 26-10. With 2 games being the difference in the lost column.12 of LAL’s magnificent 26 conference wins came by the likes of the -.500 teams (WESTERN SAC, LAC, MIN, SEA,  and MEM.) So much for tougher opponents… Oh and remember at the beginning you saw how LAL did against the elites of the NBA.Stop with the LAL’s record “AS A TEAM” being proof Kobe should be the MVP. LAL without KOBE looks a lot like UTAH… Fisher, Gasol, Odem, Bynum, Farmar. Not exactly a lottery team there! 

  90. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 13, 2008 7:55 pm

    @EriQ,

    LAL 0-2 vs BOS
    LAL 1-1 vs DET
    LAL 0-2 vs CLE
    LAL 1-1 vs ORL
    LAL 1-2 vs SAS
    That’s 3-8 vs the best the league has to offer… With Kobe healthyWed Nov 28, CLE loses 6 games w/o Lebron , CLE 9-6 on Nov 27… LAL 8-6.
    CLE 2-1 vs BOS w/ Lebron
    CLE 0-1 vs DET Lebron injured 1st have doesn’t return for 5 games.
    CLE 2-0 vs LAL Lebron drops, 33 and 41pts on LAL game high for BOTH TEAMS!
    CLE 1-1 vs ORL
    CLE 1-1 vs SAS
    That’s 6-3 vs the same elite teams… With Lebron Healthy

    What’s your point? We’ve already done this.

    As I’ve already pointed out, the Lakers have suffered MASSIVE injuries, across the board, without which their record would have been much higher. The MVP voters didn’t account for that. The MVP vote doesn’t forgive team injuries.

    Then what if you consider LAL’s record if the Pau Gasol steal/trade never saves LAL long road trip down elite hell…

    Actually, Kobe led the Lakers on a similar pace to their current one prior to the Gasol trade. He was also leading them to victories on their road trip, having lost only to Detroit when Lamar Odom air balled the game-winning attempt.

    LAL record is the only thing LA can hold onto.

    Actually, they have the fact that they are on top of the strongest conference in the history of the NBA. And that’s no small thing.

    1. Lebron covers Kobe in final seconds of each game, Kobe misses final shot and loses the game.

    Actually, Kobe didn’t miss the game winning shot. Luke Walton panicked and gave it back to him without enough time to take a shot. Meanwhile, I’ve already discussed the fact that Kobe was fouled multiple times on the last Cleveland in their LA game, on one of the last plays of the game, and the foul wasn’t called. He wasn’t given the opportunity to make the last shot.

    2. LeBron takes MVP allstar game.

    I’ve already pointed out that he didn’t deserve that, and that Ray Allen was actually the true MVP. And last year, when Kobe wasn’t injured, who was the All-Star MVP?

    3. LeBron passes Kobe as the youngest 23 year old hit the 10,000 pts mark. (in less games as well)

    Kobe was also coming off the bench in his first two years. LeBron didn’t come to an already good team, and he didn’t have to share shot attempts with Shaq.

    4. LeBron locks the leagues 2008 scoring title down.

    Congratulations? Kobe’s been scoring champ for the past couple of years, and in both years he averaged more than LeBron has this year. Two years ago, he averaged about 6 points more than LeBron this year. So, how is it really impressive that LeBron’s accomplishing something that is old news for Kobe? LBJ can have 10 scoring titles if he wants, Kobe will be busy winning.

    5. Lebron ppg 31.0 rebs 8.1 ast 7.46. Lebron leading the league in 50 pt games this year.

    We’ve already discussed statistics, and how to take them in context — which is something you still seem unable to do. Regarding 50-point games: Again, how is it that impressive that LeBron is claiming Kobe’s leftovers? Been there, done that, old news. Kobe’s done that, done it better.

    7. LeBron the only player to have back to back triple doubles.

    That would be recently — get your facts straight. I’m certain Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson have both done it. Meanwhile, aside from Wilt Chamberlain, only Kobe Bryant has scored 50 points in 4 straight games. Next?

    8. LeBron’s Defensive stats vs Kobe’s : BLKS LBJ 1.07, KB .53, STL LBJ 2.0, KB 2.0, DEF REB LBJ 6.3, KB 5.0 FOULS LBJ 2.2 , KB 2.6

    Actually, “defensive” statistics say very little about a player’s defense. For example, forwards are expected to get more blocks than guards (taller, longer, play closer to the basket, etc.). However, Kobe leads all guards in blocks. Again, that’s called taking stats in context.

    The same is true for rebounds. I discussed that when I discussed rebounds in the statistics article. Rebound is a top rebounding SG. SFs are expected to get more rebounds than SGs.

    Steals are often deceptive, as a player can get a lot of steals gambling in the passing lanes, but if he misses his gamble, he leaves his teammates hanging on defense. That’s bad defense, and yet he could have high steals numbers.

    “Defensive” stats don’t say much about a player’s defense. You have to watch it to evaluate that. And to those that do watch both players, it’s clear Kobe Bryant is a superior defender.

    CLE can only lose 4 of their final 17 games in order to stay above .500. CLE has 6 tough games left 3 vs DET 2 vs ORL 1 vs NORThe rest are easy games. It will be tough but as long as CLE beats two of those six elite teams they can say they hit .500 despite having 3 starters at a time injured.

    What are you talking about?? In their final 16 games, the Cavs only need to win 7 to get to .500. They can lose 9 and still be at .500 (by the way, .500 is equal to 41 wins). I don’t think they’ll have a problem hitting .500 — they just won’t be close to the 54 games they need to hit for LeBron to be MVP.

    FACT: CLE is 20-16 vs the Eastern conference (remember 6 of those losses were without LeBron so, actually 20-10)FACT: LAL is 19-9 vs the SAME EASTERN CONFERENCE! You know the Leastern?!?CLE 17-12 VS WEST COMPARED TO LAL 26-10. With 2 games being the difference in the lost column.

    Nice try, focusing on the loss column to try to divert attention from the fact that they’ve got more losses in fewer games. But try looking at winning percentage. That comes to .586 for the Cavs and .722 for the Lakers. MASSIVE difference. If the Cavs had to play the same amount of games as the Lakers against the West — 36, so far — their winning percentage would put them at 21-15. That’s a 4 game difference, and would bump their current pace down to a 42-win pace.

    12 of LAL’s magnificent 26 conference wins came by the likes of the -.500 teams (WESTERN SAC, LAC, MIN, SEA, and MEM.) So much for tougher opponents…

    Okay… only 6 of Cleveland’s Eastern Conference wins have come against .500+ teams, meaning 14 of their Eastern Conference wins have been against sub-.500 teams. Your point?

    Stop with the LAL’s record “AS A TEAM” being proof Kobe should be the MVP. LAL without KOBE looks a lot like UTAH… Fisher, Gasol, Odem, Bynum, Farmar. Not exactly a lottery team there!

    Again, we’ve already done this. It’s not my rule. I’m not the one who decided that MVPs must come from an elite team. It’s just a fact you’ll have to accept.

    Did you actually want to raise any points I haven’t already explicitly addressed? Did you want to try using stats in context? Or maybe making a logical argument that refutes even one of my reasons for why the difference between East and West is significant?

    That’s alright. Thanks for trying, it was a good (if confusing) effort.

  91. [...] enough. Let’s get to my virtual conversation with John Krolik. Enjoy! JK: For the record on [LeBron James’ All-Star MVP Award]-8 more rebounds and 8 more assists is more than a little significant-simple gorilla math tells you [...]

  92. Floydu says...March 26, 2008 7:26 pm

    thats for sure, man

  93. Kobe Bryant Was Never Robbed : Respect Kobe says...March 31, 2008 8:13 am

    [...] that month, I wrote an article entitled Kobe Bryant: MVP, in which I evaluated all four of the concensus MVP candidates, and argued that Kobe Bryant is the [...]

  94. Anonymous says...April 7, 2008 12:46 pm

    Chris Paul has been the best player in the NBA this year. He will win.

  95. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 10, 2008 6:48 am

    @Anonymous,

    George W. Bush will be remembered as the greatest president in the history of the United States.

    All Asians are excellent piano players.

    See, I can make unsubstantiated blanket statements, too. That doesn’t make them true.

  96. BRYANT_CARL2000 says...April 17, 2008 4:24 pm

    HI KOBE IWLL BE VOTES YOU IWLL SEE YOUR GAME IM 12 YEARS OLD IDOL YOU I AM FILIPINO GOD BLESS YOU KOBE

  97. [...] Kobe Bryant: MVP [...]


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