Kobe Bryant vs. Chris Paul: An MVP Microcosm

Watch Kobe Bryant dominate the Hornets

With the 2007-08 season winding to an end, there remain but two strong candidates for the 2008 MVP Award: Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. With the two candidates seemingly neck and neck, Friday’s game between Paul’s New Orleans Hornets and Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers promised to be one of the best, and most significant, games of the season.

It didn’t disappoint.

At stake for each team was first place in the Western Conference, and home court advantage at least until the Finals. While this post-season will undoubtedly be one in which there are no clear favorites, and therefore no true upsets — at least in the loaded West — the team that secures the #1 seed will unquestionably face the easier playoff schedule. One game between the two teams could decide the final standings in the Western Conference.

It could also, according to many, be the deciding factor in a tough decision between Bryant and Paul for this year’s MVP.

The Lakers won the game, moving within striking distance of first place, and Kobe Bryant won the individual match-up. Unfortunately, many who had billed the game as the one that would decide the MVP Award predictably changed their stories — or simply remained silent (thankfully, not all of them). Call me crazy, but I’m firmly convinced that if the Hornets had won the game, many of those who had hailed it as the event to determine the MVP Award would be loudly proclaiming Chris Paul the unquestionable winner.

As the game ended and the Lakers secured the victory, most of them faded away, hoping their silence would cause us to forget their earlier proclamations.

Among the few that revisited the claim that Friday’s game was an MVP showdown, ESPN.com‘s J.A. Adande bravely insisted that the game “did little to settle the West standings… or the MVP race.” In his recap, he made the following statement:

As campaign statements go, Friday night wasn’t exactly Barack Obama’s speech on race relations for either Bryant or Paul.

One can’t help but wonder: Would he have arrived at the same conclusion if Chris Paul had turned in a near-triple double and led his team to victory in the second of back-to-back games?

If Adande’s position is simply that the MVP shouldn’t be decided in a single game, then I would have to agree. It is a regular season award, not a season-end award. But it seems to me that he isn’t so much opposed to the idea that either candidate had the opportunity to secure the personal victory in this single game, as much as he seems to think that neither player took advantage of that opportunity.

I couldn’t disagree more.

What more can Adande — or anyone else — ask from Bryant than the 26 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals he tallied while shooting 53% from the field on only 17 shots? As one NBA blogger and self-proclaimed “Kobe hater” simply put it, Kobe Bryant was “transcendent.”

His transcendence was evident in the first half, when he led the Lakers to their highest-scoring first quarter of the season and a 30-point first half lead over the Hornets. In the first frame alone, he registered 10 points, two assists, two rebounds, and a steal while making four of his first six shots. Phil Jackson credited him with providing the energy with which the Lakers dominated the Hornets throughout the first half.

In the second half, the Hornets mounted a comeback, led by Bryant’s fellow MVP candidate, Chris Paul — whose 15 points, 17 assists, and four steals were nothing to scoff at, though it is worth noting that he needed 14 shots, of which he made only four, to score his 15 points. Paul led the Hornets to within 4 points of the Lakers, but it was at this point that Bryant once again exerted his singular influence over the game.

In a span of 51/2 minutes to end the third quarter and begin the fourth, Bryant tallied 10 points, four rebounds, and two assists to push the Lakers lead from four back to 15. During this stretch, Bryant was involved, either by scoring or by assisting, in all but two points of the Lakers 17-6 run. In a matter of minutes, a New Orleans push that began at the end of the second quarter and brought the Hornets to within striking distance had turned nto another large Lakers lead.

Seemingly undiscouraged, New Orleans mounted yet another charge, using a 12-1 run to once again cut the Lakers’ lead to four. But Kobe Bryant refused to relinquish the victory, scoring four points and assisting on a Derek Fisher three-point jumper to push the lead back to six. From that point, Los Angeles never led by fewer than five points, until a Janero Pargo three-pointer as time expired.

The Hornets best efforts to put together a fourth quarter comeback simply weren’t enough to overcome a determined Kobe Bryant. In the final period, Bryant tallied nine points, three assists, and two rebounds. More significantly, he was directly involved, either by scoring or assisting, in 18 of the Lakers 25 fourth quarter points — and 25 of their final 32 points overall.

In a game that may have profound ramifications for the 2008 Playoffs, Chris Paul delivered a strong performance. His 17 assists are very impressive, and his effort in leading his team to not one but two come-from-behind surges and the brink of victory cannot be denied.

But Kobe Bryant’s Lakers were at some times supremely dominant, and at all times victorious. And through it all, Kobe Bryant was transcendent. And for those that felt that this game would decide between Paul and Bryant for MVP, the decision should be clear.

As he has been throughout the entire season, Kobe showed us again on Friday night that he is not only this league’s best player, but also its MVP.

Filed Under Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, MVP, Statistics, Western Conference, big games, clutch, leadership | 33 Comments

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33 Comments so far
  1. randomfan says...April 13, 2008 2:57 pm

    although i thought this was a critical victory, i personally don’t use this as the defining moment for why kobe should be mvp over chris (as one game hardly captures the nature of any competition). however, with respect to those people who did profess that they had to wait to see the winner of this game in order to decide their mvp, yet when the lakers won quickly brushed their initial sentiment aside, I can’t help but be irritated at another sad attempt of deflecting the mvp away from kobe (even at the expense of their own criteria).

    i’m sure if the hornets won and chris had mediocre stats everyone would be heralding chris as the mvp.

    this writer here tries to use the big comebacks as a reason for why chris should still be the mvp. I never realized almost coming from behind is the same thing as actually winning! so if the hornets won, chris would be the definitive mvp, but even if they lost, he’s still the favored choice? (and if i recall, it was peja, not chris, who brought the hornets within striking distance by draining half a dozen 3′s) once again, what does kobe have to do to get some respect?

    adande’s article was another prime example of this. instead of focusing on what the lakers and kobe did, they have to diminish it by focusing on what the hornets almost did. it would never be like this if it were the other way around. not even if the lakers lost by 1 and kobe put up 50pts, 6reb, and 7assts.

    ps. here’s a very good piece comparing the hornet’s season to the lakers (similar to josh’s previous entry)

  2. MV says...April 13, 2008 6:13 pm

    I agree with randomfan. The battle for MVP is not between Bryant and Garnett. It’s not between Bryant and James. And it’s not between Bryant and Paul.

    It’s between Bryant and his haters.

    His haters first put Bryant against Garnett–didn’t go so well because Garnett also had Pierce and Allen by his sides. They then put him against James–let’s just say the Cavs are as good and as inconsistent as James’ long-range shots. And then now the put him against Paul–well, too bad Hornets lost to not only the Lakers, but to the Kings, putting Lakers in first.

    Who’s next? Seriously, Kobe is playing a video game with this MVP race–somewhat like Tekken where he has to beat each opposing fighter before actually winning. So who’s the final boss? Is it John Hollinger himself?

  3. dtrip35 says...April 13, 2008 6:41 pm

    as i believe has been pointed out before if kobe doesn’t get it this year the award loses whatever credibility it still has. Regardless of how they feel about him they can’t deny him this year, especially not with the way everything is playing out

  4. erick says...April 13, 2008 9:35 pm

    kobe is the clear-cut MVP of the NBA. hands-down.

  5. LakerFanSince91 says...April 13, 2008 9:41 pm

    its been a crazy season!

  6. kb24z says...April 13, 2008 10:41 pm

    kobe deserves to be the MVP!!!

  7. wondahbap says...April 14, 2008 7:10 am


    Keep up the good work.   ESPN.com is unbearable.  Adande is such a hack.  In his chats, he reasons that Kobe plays with Lamar, thus Kobe’s MVP candidacy isn’t strengthened by carrying his team throughout injuries to himself and others.  Wow.  How do these writers get away with it?  If it was that easy, then why, has it taken 4 years? 
    All of the so called "experts" use ANY excuse to attach a but to Kobe.  But he played with Shaq.   He’s a great scorer, but……He’s a great defender, but……He’s the game’s best individual player, but…..he’s getting his teammates involved,but….Now he has Bynum, but…..Well, now he has Pau, but…..Well, he plays with Lamar.  Why does Chris Paul get credit for making his teammates better than they ever could be (which may be true, so say the "experts"), but with Kobe, there is always some excuse given on why he shouldn’t be worthy. The Anti-Kobe machine doesn’t stop. First it’s LeBron’s stats, the KG’s leadership and transformation of Boston, then Chris Paul’s stats, then back to KG, then it’s all of a sudden Lifetime Achievement Award. Are they serious? Look at these predictions….


    The Hornets have exceeded expectation, but so have the Lakers, and have accomplished MORE in theri improvement. 


    More in that the Lakers are considered favorites to win the West and make it to the Finals, where as the Hornets merely get credit for a remarkable season.  Isn’t that what an MVP should do?  It’s not about merely playing great, or making teammates better, but leading your team to true Championship aspirations. 

    The Lakers have run through the Hornets and Spurs in back to back games.  The two teams gunning for the top spot in the West with the Lakers.  So, to say that the MVP shouldn’t come down to a game.  I couldn’t disagree more.  In a race this close (again, so say the "experts"),  then this game has to be the measuring stick.  A week away from the playoffs, and who will have their team ready.  Which player will shine?  Which player is going to will their team to win?  In both cases it was Kobe.  Emphatically.  Then, to drive that point home, they crush the defending champion Spurs in the very next game!  Meanwhile, the Hornets lost again, when they still controlled their destiny.  Does the MVP of the league, get crushed then drop a dud the next game, when he needs to win those games.  Or does the MVP close those games out, to the point where he doesn’t have to play the 4th quarter.  The Hornets and Spurs needed to win those games just as much as the Lakers, but couldn’t get past Kobe and the Lakers.

    The Lakers are playing their best basketball when it counts most, heading into the playoffs, but…..(we’ll see what’s next).

  8. randomfan says...April 14, 2008 5:10 pm

    ok, this is kind of a rant, but i need to get it out:

    i have run into thousands of comments online about how kobe is not the mvp because the lakers were not playing a high level of basketball until after the pau gasol trade. how do these people not remember how the lakers were playing even before that trade???? the lakers were still one of the top teams until pau arrived on the lakers!!! i seriously do not understand how people can get simple facts mistaken or create their own universe of facts to tailor it to their own preconceived opinions about kobe.

  9. Respect says...April 14, 2008 7:00 pm

    I agree with all of you above….I was reading through the selections on ESPN regarding MVP picks. It baffles me that anyone could even consider someone besides Kobe right now. I’ve heard every excuse the last few years, and there are NO more to be made. Kobe has proved on a daily basis, yet nobody wants to acknowledge this. If kb doesnt recieve his MVP award this year there’s some serious flaws in perception that the media portrays towards him.  I guess at the end of the day, these degenerate ass holes are the ones who push Kobe to be the baller he is.

  10. randomfan says...April 14, 2008 9:50 pm

    another quibble:

    i can’t bear to hear how people want to diminish kobe’s potential mvp award by saying it will not be deserved, but rather a "lifetime achievement award". i can see how it would be the case if the lakers weren’t one of the top teams in the west and his stats were much lower and he missed games due to injuries, but even without getting into his spectacular career, he has definitely shown he deserves the mvp based just on his performance this season.

    lastly, i feel most every point people use to say chris paul is the mvp is also easily applicable to kobe, whereas points that support kobe are not applicable to chris. this already shows me that although chris is a good mvp candidate, his achievements are clearly subsumed by kobe’s accomplishments this season, making kobe the more deserving player. people should realize that chris’ not becoming the winner does not mean he didn’t have an mvp-worthy season. it just means he didn’t win it over somebody who was having a worthier one.

  11. xrism says...April 15, 2008 3:02 am

    I just wanted to share this with you all. You have probably already read it. Its from fox sports.com  and Peter Vescey handing out his yearly awards.

    Note the way he describes Kobe Bryant. You would think to yourself, why would Peter Vescey even consider Bryant an MVP candidate.

    Here’s an excerpt;

    Peter Vescey-

    MVP — I can go with either Kobe Bryant or Chris Paul and have done so repeatedly over the last few weeks on NBATV. Because I cannot make up my mind, I’m choosing whichever player takes his team higher in the Western Conference. First or second, Kobe is well worth the price of admission or staying up until 1 a.m. on the East Coast 95 percent of the time, as long as you don’t mind his man scoring nearly as many as he does. His stats and perfect attendance are sensational (28.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists) considering he didn’t allow a tumultuously negative offseason (of his own design) affect his game. At the same time, he is not solely responsible for the Lakers’ soaring in the standings. Yes, he makes teammates better, but they deserve a lot of credit, too, for improving (Andrew Bynum, a prime example) on their own, and the incoming player (Pau Gasol) made Kobe better. Furthermore, if Bryant wasn’t setting up perimeter shooters and drivers for dunks, Lamar Odom is almost as capable. Contrary to popular distortion Kobe does not deserve this honor based on Lifetime Achievement, but strictly on this simonized season. Only once in 11 previous seasons (eight spent alongside Shaquille O’Neal) was he so much as a legitimate candidate, and Steve Nash simply outdid him.


    As ESPN writer Chad Ford.

    These are his picks for MVP.

    1. Chris Paul
    2. Lebron James
    3. Kobe Bryant
    4. Kevin Garnett

    Now this is what he said about Kobe -
    "Kobe’s have a great season, but it’s not been his best. The Lakers are winning and I know some will want to give it to him as a lifetime achievement award … but he’s neither the best player on the best team nor the best individual player in the league. So how do you give it to him?"
    This imbecile has another player who is not the "best player on the best team" and is not the "best individual player" as his choice for MVP.  He has the guy whom he thinks IS "the best individual player" at number TWO.And he has the ACTUAL "best player on the best team" at number FOUR.

    The "anybody but Kobe" menatility once again.

    And John Hollinger has Kobe at #4 on his MVP chart.

    I dont get that guy.

  12. randomfan says...April 15, 2008 12:49 pm


    if you click on many of the "experts" who had kobe ranking 3 or 4, you’ll find that even within their explanations for their rankings reek of internal inconsistencies and contradictions. let alone being inconsistent from what they have said in the past, these shams can’t even foolproof one, isolated evaluation from logical errors and contradicting their own statements within itself. truly embarrassing. i don’t understand how these people continue to hold their jobs when they’re clearly not even educated properly.

  13. randomfan says...April 15, 2008 1:11 pm


    another very dishonest article by mark. you can’t make an argument for someone by leaving out the supports for another person.

    i also don’t understand this whole "lifetime achievement award" catch phrase thrown around nowadays. this isn’t like the first year kobe’s been the best (or one of the best) player without a mvp. if this truly were a knock on kobe, why wasn’t this being thrown around any other year, such as last year or 2 years before? i think this obviously shows the media trying to make up another reason to not give it to kobe.

  14. Ali says...April 15, 2008 6:04 pm

    i think kobe’s haters r about to blow out from anger
    they simply have nothing to take it away from him
    lebron couldnt reach 50 wins so he s out
    KG has another candiadate in his team (pierce)and CELTICS won 7 out of 9 without him
    now they stick by cp3 side but kobe got the edge on him bcus he had to deal with Gasol and Bynum missing 60 games combined,and he has an injury requires surgery yet his team is in the top of the west..too much for cp3
    no one of them has a good argument why he s not the mvp,how ridiculous saying he s not bcus he s not the best player in the league or he s not having his best season(he is but even if he is not) what has to do with mvp?

  15. LakerFanSince91 says...April 15, 2008 10:26 pm

    hey josh have you checked out this site http://lakersfiction.blogspot.com/…….this guy is crazy…..i would argue with him but im too lazy to argue…knowing it would be pointless..anyways….LAKERS ARE THE NUMBER 1 SEED in THE WC!!!! WOOOOO!

  16. hertagnism says...April 15, 2008 11:43 pm

    I’d like to point out that if you go over to the New Orleans Hornets blog (atthehive.wordpress.com) , there is mention that 15 or so writers are going to NOT vote for the MVP this year. In other words, they are boycotting the vote when Kobe is the clear front runner. Really now? Don’t think they would’ve done that if CP3 or LeBron was the front runner…

  17. Ace says...April 16, 2008 6:36 am

    If Kobe Bryant does not win the MVP award this year, that award will officially become meaningless. I still can’t get over the fact that Nash has 2 and Kobe has none.

  18. Respect says...April 16, 2008 10:22 pm


    Bill Simmons, the “Sports Guy” tries to explain why Kevin Garnett is the MVP and Kobe doesn’t deserve it.Cleary a dumb ass

  19. MV says...April 17, 2008 10:51 am


    I’ve just read an intriguing article on the MVP debate. Although I still believe that Kobe Bryant has earned the MVP award this year, the author of this article seems to have a logical argument. However, because he relies solely on mathematics, I know he is missing some critical points regarding the MVP. But I am not sure what as of now. See if you can counter his argument:

  20. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 17, 2008 12:41 pm


    That first article is a prime example of the kind of fudging people try to do to keep Bryant from winning the award. Let’s see…

    For every Paul-led surge, there was a corresponding Bryant-led surge or rebuff… plus one. After all, Kobe first led the Lakers to a 30-point first half lead. Only then did the Hornets come back, only for Kobe to respond with another surge to push the lead to 15. Then the Hornets came back again, only to have Kobe keep them off, pushing the Lakers to the victory. If he wants to base it on how many times either player led their team on a run against the other team, it’s 3-2, Kobe.

    How about this?

    But Paul has taken the Hornets farther in the regular season than anyone expected.

    That applies to Kobe and the Lakers, as well. Before the season, the Lakers were expected to essentially implode. No one expected them to be here. Hell, no one expected them to be halfway here. Oh, and by the way, they pulled off the same unexpected surprise results… with endless injuries, that the Hornets didn’t have to deal with.

    Going into Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, the Hornets remained in first place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of the surging Lakers.

    Sure, you can freeze frame at any point in the middle of the season and see who’s ahead, but we could do that with the Lakers, too. “Before Gasol was injured, the Lakers were ahead of the Hornets and Spurs for the West lead.” Yeah, the Hornets had the lead… before they collapsed at the end of the season, while the Lakers won 8 of 9. And who ended the season ahead? Yeah, Kobe’s Lakers.

    Paul is on a team with good players, not great, and they’re young.

    Show me one of Kobe’s teammates that’s “great”? Paul’s the one with an All-Star teammate. And the Lakers have a lower average age than the Hornets.

    The Lakers improved after landing Pau Gasol in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies at midseason. However, Paul has proven he can dominate games in a variety of ways from scoring, defending and passing.

    Classic. The Lakers were on top of the West before Gasol arrived. Gasol is not an addition, this season; he’s a replacement. And Kobe dominates the game at both ends better than anyone in the game — including Paul.

    Regardless, if the Hornets finished the regular season as the No. 1 or the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, they would not have gotten there without Paul.

    Seriously, what’s with making arguments about Chris Paul that apply every bit as much to Kobe, as well?

    At times, Stojakovic has been unstoppable from the perimeter. Forward David West was an All-Star selection. Tyson Chandler has made a habit of scoring off alley-oop dunks. But if Paul was not playing at the level he has achieved this season, those players would not be enjoying the success they have achieved.

    Paul has gotten them the ball in their desired spots. When defenses target him, it leaves someone else open to make shots.

    And again… ditto for Kobe.

    But you’re right. Those who we’re talking about (a) where they finish in the standings and (b) that last Hornets-Lakers game as being deciding factors have suddenly clammed up. Convenient. That standard doesn’t apply in the other direction, eh?

    Fortunately, enough of the voters out there seem to recognize that, all double standards aside, Kobe is the MVP this season.

    While I think it’s a little ridiculous that Adande so thoroughly underrated what Kobe did during this game, I am glad to see that he’s voting Kobe for MVP.

    The Bleacher Report article you linked to states some very interesting facts. His numbers, by and large, are pretty good. In particular, it’s interesting to see that Paul’s Hornets have a similar record when healthy against the teams the Lakers played without either of our big men. Very significant.

    Overall, though, it seems like this year — for once — there are still plenty of naysayers, but there are finally more who are recognizing Kobe, and he should get the award. But make no mistake — they recognize him because he has forced them to, this season, by responding to and eliminating every single one of their criticisms, and turning in a season-long performance far beyond what is typically required for MVP consideration.

  21. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 17, 2008 2:55 pm

    Apologies to all for my recent silence. I’ve got some things going on right now, which you’ll hear more about soon. I’ll try to respond to several of your comments here, in one go. (Click on each person’s name/handle to see their comment.)


    “The battle for MVP… [is] betwen Bryant and his haters.”

    Eloquently said, my friend, and equally as correct.


    I have said several times recently that I would be okay if they gave it to CP3 this season. After the last week, I have changed my mind. Don’t get me wrong, CP3 has had an MVP-worthy season by any standards. That can’t be taken from him. Kobe’s season has simply been that much more incredible.

    I think that a couple weeks ago, they were on nearly even footing, with Kobe holding a slight advantage in my opinion due to all the injuries (to himself and his teammates) and the constant state of flux in which his team’s roster has existed. But while the last couple of weeks are nothing to base a season-long award on, they are still significant — as much so as any other two-week period, and perhaps even a bit more so. And from that perspective, Kobe’s case for MVP has been strengthened over these last two weeks, while Paul’s has been weakened. So, at this point, I would say that I would have a bit of trouble with CP3 getting the vote.


    Please accept your award for Understatement of the Season.


    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I was honestly disappointed with Adande mostly for his failure to notice the brilliance in Kobe’s performance against New Orleans. How could he say this was anything less than a stellar performance? How could 26/10/8 be just okay? Did he notice that Kobe directly contributed to 25 of the Lakers final 32 points? That said, I was pleased to notice a couple days later that he voted Kobe for MVP. He’s redeemed himself a little bit. I still don’t know what game he was watching, though.

    But did he really say that Kobe playing with Lamar hurts his MVP candidacy? Really? I guess he hasn’t heard of David West, Peja Stojakovic, Tyson Chandler, Ray Allen, or Paul Pierce.

    I think my biggest complaint is the “Lifetime Achievement Award” argument. Really? At least three of ESPN’s contributors, if I recall correctly, cited that as being the reason he’ll get it. So, the best record in the West, while remaining the best individual player, making Pau Gasol’s transition seamless (something even Steve Nash couldn’t do in Phoenix), playing through more injuries than even Cleveland has dealt with, and playing half a season with a finger that has two completely torn ligaments and a fractured bone (on his shooting hand)… those mean nothing.

    I’ve heard from Kobe haters complaining about Lakers fans who say that Kobe is the only possible choice, and that if he doesn’t win it the award is invalidated. They hate it when Lakers/Kobe fans say that. They feel like Chris Paul isn’t an unreasonable choice. I happen to agree with them. He has a valid case. Kobe is still the better choice — the right choice — but Chris Paul is a valid candidate. But isn’t it basically the same thing when ESPN contributors, no less, attempt to invalidate Bryant’s MVP season, trying to put an asterisk next to his award, despite all that he has done this season? Isn’t that the same thing? I’d like to see those people who are tired of hearing Lakers fans exaggerate about the MVP award turn around and point the same criticism at all those who consider this a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Does the MVP of the league, get crushed then drop a dud the next game, when he needs to win those games. Or does the MVP close those games out, to the point where he doesn’t have to play the 4th quarter. The Hornets and Spurs needed to win those games just as much as the Lakers, but couldn’t get past Kobe and the Lakers.

    Well said. Nothing more to add.

    P.S. Thanks for the links to those Daily Dime previews. Awesome stuff! Wait… the Lakers weren’t expected to make the Playoffs? Hmm, you don’t say…


    i have run into thousands of comments online about how kobe is not the mvp because the lakers were not playing a high level of basketball until after the pau gasol trade. how do these people not remember how the lakers were playing even before that trade????

    randomfan, when you run across such ignorance, simply tell them to get their facts straight, and give them this link.


    Clearly, we both agree that this “Lifetime Achievement Award” argument is what a few have settled upon as their way to invalidate Kobe and vote for someone else. After all, it’s about all they have, since he has answered every single criticism and then some. With no excuses left, it’s the best they’ve been able to do. Fortunately… many of them have been forced to see reason, and those who are using this argument are in the minority.

    lastly, i feel most every point people use to say chris paul is the mvp is also easily applicable to kobe, whereas points that support kobe are not applicable to chris.

    Absolutely correct. As wondahbap pointed out, the expectations for the Lakers were just as low as those for the Hornets. The Lakers ascent to the top, led by Kobe, is as improbable as the Hornets’ success. However, the Lakers actually took the #1 spot, over the Hornets. Paul leads a couple of stats, but Kobe scores more and plays better defense (regardless of the steals numbers). Meanwhile, the Lakers are considered favorites to win the championship; as someone else ponited out on here, the Hornets are just happy to have done so well. And Paul didn’t deal with the injuries to teammates, injuries to himself, or roster changes that Kobe did.

    I think you’re being extremely reasonable. Paul’s season definitely is MVP worthy. Kobe’s just so happens to be significantly moreso.


    Peter Vescey is at least as bad as John Hollinger. In a year when even most of Kobe’s long-term critics have admitted, “At least he’s once again playing All-NBA level defense,” Vescey somehow claims Kobe’s man scores almost as much as Kobe does? What games is he watching, again?

    Yeah, the off-season was Kobe’s own design. And it has undoubtedly sparked a lot of the success the Lakers have found this season.

    Garnett’s and Paul’s teammates deserve just as much credit for their own abilities as Bynum and Gasol. However, Gasol’s statistics are markedly better in several areas than they were in Memphis, and Bynum’s success, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has recently said, is as much confidence as anything else. Confidence he gained, in part, because in the first half of the season, Kobe was making a concerted effort to get him the ball, and to get him easy, open shots.

    And if Vescey thinks Odom is as capable of drawing double- and triple-teams and then finding the open shooter, well… maybe we can get his address, and send him a pair of glasses and a copy of Basketball for Dummies. Seriously, someone who purports to know the game as well as he supposedly does should know better than to say that Lamar could do even half of what Kobe does.

    Your points regarding Chad Ford are very well made. In casting his vote for Paul, and in placing Garnett so low, he goes against the very standards he used to justify not voting for Bryant. Pretty pathetic.

    Hollinger is just Hollinger. I’m pretty shocked, though, that he didn’t put LBJ first, after all his constant talk that PER is everything.


    Kriegel’s really reaching. Like, he mentions that the Hornets have experienced a 16-game improvement, year over year. Of course, he didn’t mention that the Lakers have experienced a 15-game improvement, year over year. But unlike the Hornets — who owe much of their improvement to the fact that last year they were constantly injured, and this year they are not — the Lakers have dealt with massive injuries… and still experienced an equivalent improvement.

    He also mentions that the Celtics have only had to play three good teams in the East, but he forgets that they dominated the West. Their record would have been every bit as good in the West as it was in the East. They’re the exception. (Don’t get me wrong: for the rest of them, the East vs. West argument definitely applies.)

    He refuses to give Chris Paul’s teammates any credit whatsoever for the Hornets success, even though he plays with fellow All-Star David West. Chandler has been better than Bynum, so far, West at least as good as Gasol, maybe better. And of course everyone forgets Peja, among the league leaders from beyond the arc.

    And by the way, David West didn’t suddenly become good. He’s had comparable seasons before. Kreigel should look that up. And Odom? He says Odom is better than West, so… why is anyone still listening to him?


    You know, one glance at that looked like a great opportunity to get into a classic Lakers vs. [fill in the blank] or Kobe vs. [fill in the blank] flame war. And that’s just not my cup of tea. I prefer rational discussion, not trolling flame wars.

    Besides… I think time is going to make him look fool enough. Don’t think I need to add to it.


    I’m not so sure this is evidence of boycotting because it might go to Kobe. If anything, I think that if these voters were that passionate about not giving it to Kobe, they would be voting for Chris Paul, and then putting Kobe 4th or 5th on their ballots so he doesn’t get many 2nd place votes. But I’ve heard about this. The LA Times is doing it. Others are doing it. They say it’s because of a conflict of interest, i.e., the LA Times could be seen as biased towards LA, creating a conflict of interest. I think this actually is the real reason this is happening. Their editors want to eliminate something that could be viewed as a conflict of interest.


    I’ll reply to this separately, later (hopefull later today, perhaps tomorrow). But I’ll tell you this: His method may seem rational, but it actually makes no sense whatsoever. It’s one of the worst arguments I’ve seen. I’ll tell you why when I get a chance.

    Whew! That was a lot! You guys have been at it while I’ve been relatively absent.

    Here’s the heads up: My wife and I will be moving from Oregon to Kansas in about 2 weeks. It’s quite the sudden decision, but that’s how my wife and I do things. We make decisions quickly, and we don’t waste time.

    Obviously, we’re pretty busy with packing, cleaning, and making the preparations to drive halfway across the country. Unfortunately, it means that I’ll be less available over the next couple weeks, so my articles and responses to comments may be less frequent. I’ll do my best, especially if anything huge happens. But the next 3 – 4 weeks may be a bit slow around RespectKobe.com.

    That doesn’t mean you guys can’t get on here and “talk amonst yourselves!”

    I’ll do my best to get as much posted up here as I can, and you can expect to see me back 100% in a few weeks.

    Here’s to the Lakers, and to Kobe!

  22. Brittney M says...April 17, 2008 3:13 pm

    I’m really late but another great insight on the MVP race Josh. Kobe has so many people on ESPN who don’t completely make a full arguement against him, like Bill Simmons who points to so many negatives but no positives and thats what is missing from those who don’t want him to win the award, they just fail to me to make complete arguements, to atleast help theirselves from falling into that HATER label but Kobe and Lakers did what they had to against CP3 and if that game didn’t do it, I don’t know what will.

  23. MV says...April 21, 2008 3:42 pm

    "Pound-for-pound, Allen Iverson is the best basketball player in NBA history."

    I love Jeff van Gundy.

  24. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 21, 2008 5:19 pm


    That was actually either Mark Jackson or Mike Breen — I want to say Mark Jackson.

    JVG was completely shocked at the concept. He could not fathom it. Even when explained, he thought it was preposterous.

    Which is one of the multitudinous (read: literally endless) reasons for which I love JVG. I actually get what Jackson was trying to say — the whole pound-for-pound part — but I just love the JVG simply couldn’t get over the idea of calling AI the “best basketball player in history” under any conditions, whatsoever.

    I’m with you, Jeff.

  25. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 21, 2008 5:21 pm


    P.S. Next time Allen Iverson gets that kinda whiny, “are you serious,” look on his face — you know, the one where he gets called for a foul and feigns utter disbelief and shock — do this:

    Think to yourself, “Beagle.”

  26. Anonymous says...April 21, 2008 6:11 pm

    Now that I thought about it, AI does look like a beagle. LOL!


  27. [...] forcing Kobe into some questionable shots. But as Josh over at Respect Kobe points out, the last MVP vs. MVP match up of the season against Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets was won by Kobe. And that game had [...]

  28. Jhon S says...April 28, 2008 11:54 am

    Oh! Wonderful job!
    Very interesting and useful post.
    Thx, your blog in my RSS reader now

  29. MV says...May 6, 2008 4:17 pm

    Kobe Bryant has officially won the NBA MVP award. What’s most surprising is the vote counts: 82 first-place votes for Bryant vs. only 28 first-place votes for second place Chris Paul. That’s a large margin, which is so surprising, but at the same time, so satisfying!

  30. chrisandra says...May 8, 2008 5:21 am

    OMG yes kobe Bryant and Chris Paul they both looke so good so it is hard to tell they are both really good aty basketball to Me and ma nigg des love dem dudes <3 Obama <3


  31. Willie Montgomery says...May 10, 2008 9:37 pm

    In my opinion Kobe Bryant has been MVP for several seasons. I think too much weight is given to a team’s record and the “he makes his teammates better” philosophy. Those are a function of the quality of teammates you have and the skills they posses. For example replace Amare Stoudemire with Kwame Brown and Raja Bell with Smush Parker. Does anyone believe Nash would still have won 2 MVP awards or that his team’s record would be as good? Ditto for Dirk Novitski.

    Or does anyone believe had Kobe passed more to Kwame and Smush he would have “made them better” along with the teams record?? 

    Nash and Dirk won MVP mainly because they had more skilled teammates with them. But it’s Most valuable “Player”   not    Most valuable “Team”.   IMO the definition of MVP should be: The player with the most valuable collection of basketball skills. That is and has been Kobe Bryant for several years. 

    Need someone to get to the basket? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need someone to hit the midrange jumper? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need someone to hit the long range jumper? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need someone who can score from every angle imaginable? Kobe is the best.
    Need someone consistently good at the foul line? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need someone who can go on a scoring rampage like no one since Wilt? Kobe is the best.
    Need someone who can guard the opposing team’s best back court player? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need someone to make a shot in the clutch? Kobe is the best.
    Need someone with a killer/”never say die instinct”? Kobe is the best.
    Need someone with ball-handling skills? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need someone who passes and rebounds well for his position? Kobe is one of the best.
    Need a supremely confident and unshakable player? Kobe is the best.
    Need someone dedicated to the game, who works hard to improve? Kobe is the best.
    Need someone who can play at the highest level when injured? Kobe is the best.

      I could go on, but the point is obvious. The above number of things cannot be said about any player other than Kobe Bryant, MVPlayer. Hasn’t even been close for years…imo.

  32. Anonymous says...June 16, 2008 2:01 pm

    Kobe is the best.  I really wish people pay attention to his tenacious defense.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a defensive player of the year award.

  33. Stephen Curry says...February 4, 2009 9:13 am

    Yo yall people is trippin for real! Yall know that CP3 is waxin Kobe in the game!! and yall kno it or else yall would have showed the comparison, and showed some highlights of Chris doin his thing…my dude had a tripple double and pretty much the same amount of points so dont trip on him just know he is the truth!!!!

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