Kobe Bryant Was Never Robbed

Consistency is key.

In recent years, the outcry among Lakers and Kobe Bryant fans has been that Kobe Bryant has been robbed of MVP Awards that he rightly deserved. This year, with LeBron James often considered a front-runner in the MVP race despite his team’s lackluster record, the indignant outcry has grown even louder: “Kobe was robbed the last two years!”

No, he wasn’t.

Lakers fans, it’s time for a wake-up call: When you claim that Kobe was robbed the last two years, you undermine your position that LeBron James doesn’t deserve it this year. By claiming that Kobe deserved the Award the last two years, you are, in fact, legitimizing LeBron’s candidacy for the Award.

The idea that Kobe deserved the award for the last two years was based on his league-leading offensive production and his ability to carry a very weak team to the Playoffs. Based on a literal definition of the term “Most Valuable Player,” this would seem to make sense. However, if we hold to that definition of the MVP, then LeBron clearly fits the bill better than Kobe this year. LeBron’s offensive production this year eclipses Kobe’s, and he is carrying a much weaker team than Bryant’s Lakers into the Playoffs.

The argument for Bryant as this year’s MVP is not based on either of these criteria. Instead, it is based on the criteria that prevented him from winning the award in the past: his team’s record, and his role as the leader and most valuable player on one of the best teams in the league. It is based on this criteria that Bryant is the current favorite to win the award, while James is one loss away from no longer being a valid candidate.

More than anything else, consistency is what I demand from Bryant’s critics. In fact, it’s what I demand of everyone. As such, it is only natural that I be held to the same standard, and it should follow that I hold myself to the that standard.

It is for this reason that, if the Cavs defy their current pace and manage 50 or more wins this season, I would fully expect Cavs fans, LeBron James fans, and all those who consider James this season’s MVP to hold me to my own criteria for the MVP Award. And they would be justified in doing so. In fact, let me take a moment to do so right now: If the Cavs win every single one of their remaining games to reach the 50-win mark, I will consider LeBron James a valid candidate for MVP consideration.

Let’s bring this full circle, back to Kobe Bryant. Nearly two months ago, I wrote an article entitled LeBron & Fans Experience the “Bryant-Nash Rule”, arguing that based on the currently accepted criteria for MVP — criteria that is thoroughly reinforced by 25 years of precedence — James does not merit consideration in the MVP debate. Lakers fans and Bryant fans emphatically agreed.

Later 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 clear choice for this year’s MVP. In this article, I reiterated the point that the Cavs’ record “does not satisfy the minimum requirement for MVP candidacy.”

Throughout all of this, I never heard a single complaint from a Lakers fan regarding my assertion that LeBron James does not deserve consideration this year. Not once did a Kobe Bryant fan suggest that because he felt Bryant had deserved it the previous two years, James deserves it this year for all of the same reasons.

Again, consistency is key. When fans of James have argued that he is the clear choice for this season’s MVP, I have often responded with a challenge: Recognize and admit that Kobe Bryant should have won the award for the last two years, and I will recognize the validity of your position. (Note: This does not mean it is the correct position, as 25 years of precedence has determined that the voters rely on different criteria for the award, but the position would be valid in its consistency.)

So far, not one has been willing to concede the point. And again, Lakers fans felt vindicated, claiming that if LeBron’s advocates are unwilling to recognize Kobe’s accomplishments over the past two years, then they have no ground on which to stand for advocating LeBron this year. And they were correct.

But this is a two-way street, and Bryant’s advocates must be held to the same standard they apply to others. If they claim that Bryant deserved the MVP Award in 2006 and 2007, then they must also concede that James deserves it for 2008.

So I’ll say it again: Kobe Bryant was never robbed. Not in 2006, when he averaged over 35 points per game, including a historical 81 points in a single game, and led a terrible Lakers team to 45 wins and a near upset of the Suns in the first round of the Playoffs. Not in 2007, when he again led the league in scoring and carried a Lakers team made weak by endless injuries into the Playoffs.

A statement I hear with increasing frequency is that the MVP Award has been compromised and lost all credibility. The idea is that MVP voting has been so arbitrary and so inconsistent that the validity and legitimacy of the award have been undermined.

I disagree.

Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, in particular, are cited as two primary reasons for which the award is no longer “legitimate” — Nowitzki because he and his Mavericks disappeared in the Playoffs and were swept by the 8th seed Warriors, and Nash because many, especially Lakers fans, feel that there were better choices (namely, Bryant).

But this ignores the fact that the MVP Award is a regular season award. A player’s performance in the Playoffs has absolutely no bearing on the MVP Award. During the regular season, Dirk Nowitzki was unquestionably the best player on a team that won 67 games. To put that in perspective, this year’s Celtics are on pace for 65 wins.

Meanwhile, Steve Nash’s MVP seasons also adhered to the traditional NBA criteria for the MVP. In 2004-05, the Suns had the best record in the NBA with 62 wins. In 2005-06, only Detroit and San Antonio had better records, and the success of both of those teams was attributed more to their team-oriented system than to a single player, whereas Nash rightfully deserved much of the credit for the Suns’ success.

In fact, I would argue that MVP voting over the past 25 years has been remarkably consistent. Since Moses Malone in 1982, no MVP winner has led his team to fewer than 50 wins (strike-shortened season not included, of course). In fact, only twice in that same time period has the MVP come from a team with fewer than 55 wins: Michael Jordan with 50 wins in 1988, and Steve Nash with 54 wins in 2005.

Kobe Bryant was not robbed of the MVP Award in 2005 and 2006. He did not deserve it in either of those years. In fact, to have awarded it to him would have shown bias in his favor. Lakers fans have complained that many are attempting to “adjust the finish line in LeBron James’ favor.” If Bryant had won the award in either 2005 or 2006, the same assessment could correctly have been applied to him.

Lakers fans, I’m asking the same thing of you that I require of those who advocate for James over Bryant: some consistency, please. You are correct when you say that LeBron James should not win the award this year for the same reasons that Kobe Bryant did not win it the last two years. But when you claim that Bryant was robbed of the MVP Award in 2005 and 2006, you undermine your own position.

He was certainly the “Most Impressive Player” over the last couple years — a term more and more people are using these days — but Kobe Bryant was not the MVP in either of the last two years.

Filed Under Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, MVP | 46 Comments

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46 Comments so far
  1. randomfan says...March 28, 2008 5:11 pm

    i’m not sure about others, but from my personal experience, i think the general outcry from kobe fans about being "robbed" grew from people wanting to give lebron the mvp for having great stats and leading the cavs to the playoffs this year, and not necessarily an outcry on its own. in the case lebron wins the award with a mediocre record, then kobe surely would be robbed of 2 mvps.

    even if lebron were to "deserve" the mvp for a similar feat that kobe did for the last  2 seasons, i still think it was less impressive than what kobe did for those 2 years, given that lebron’s team was slightly better than kobe’s during those years and was playing in the eastern conference. lebron’s performance this year and kobe’s the last 2 years are similar, but kobe’s was relatively more impressive than lebron’s.

    i also find it funny how people are so awe-inspired by lebron’s stats this year and claim that it’s something they haven’t seen in ages. do people really forget that kobe has had a season like lebron’s before in 02-03? kobe had 30 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2.2 steals and almost 1 block. now those stats are already impressive all by themselves, but the fact that kobe put up these numbers WHILE sharing the stage with shaq and playing in the still more difficult western conference than the current eastern conference makes it infinitely more impressive. contrast this to lebron who has similar stats while holding on to the ball the majority of the time and playing in the eastern conference.

  2. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 28, 2008 10:17 pm

    @randomfan,

    I completely disagree. Kobe/Lakers fans have been screaming foul play for a couple years. It has escalated this year in that it has become part of the argument against LeBron. However, Kobe fans have long suspected anything from a subconscious penchant against Bryant to an outright conspiracy.

    in the case lebron wins the award with a mediocre record, then kobe surely would be robbed of 2 mvps.

    Even this is not correct. If LBJ does win the award with a mediocre record, it will not be that Kobe was robbed, because in the past two years precedent was followed and voters were consistent. Instead, it would demonstrate blatant and obvious favoritism towards LeBron, and would render his award essentially meaningless.

    even if lebron were to “deserve” the mvp for a similar feat that kobe did for the last 2 seasons, i still think it was less impressive than what kobe did for those 2 years, given that lebron’s team was slightly better than kobe’s during those years and was playing in the eastern conference. lebron’s performance this year and kobe’s the last 2 years are similar, but kobe’s was relatively more impressive than lebron’s.

    I agree. I think an honest and complete evaluation of LeBron’s team/conference this year, compared to Kobe’s last year, and especially two years ago, reveals that LeBron’s team is weak, but Kobe’s was weaker, while LeBron’s conference is also weak, and Kobe’s never has been.

    i also find it funny how people are so awe-inspired by lebron’s stats this year and claim that it’s something they haven’t seen in ages. do people really forget that kobe has had a season like lebron’s before in 02-03? kobe had 30 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2.2 steals and almost 1 block. now those stats are already impressive all by themselves, but the fact that kobe put up these numbers WHILE sharing the stage with shaq and playing in the still more difficult western conference than the current eastern conference makes it infinitely more impressive. contrast this to lebron who has similar stats while holding on to the ball the majority of the time and playing in the eastern conference.

    Great point. So well said that I have nothing more to add. That may come up later.

  3. randomfan says...March 28, 2008 10:59 pm

    "Even this is not correct. If LBJ does win the award with a mediocre record, it will not be that Kobe was robbed, because in the past two years precedent was followed and voters were consistent. Instead, it would demonstrate blatant and obvious favoritism towards LeBron, and would render his award essentially meaningless."

    i think this is just a matter of semantics. what i was trying to convey was that kobe would be robbed relative to lebron’s hypothetical award this year, not that he was robbed relative to the consistent methods of previous years, which i was conceiving as favoritism. i think we were just thinking of the same idea in different terms.

  4. Brittney M says...March 29, 2008 4:54 am

    Yeah I was one of those fans who basically thought Kobe was robbed but after being on this site and reading that there has been some kind of consistency for MVP, I now know that he wasn’t robbed. The only problem that I had is the media wanting to give Lebron James the award after denying Kobe for two years and Lebron is in the weak east.

  5. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 29, 2008 12:16 pm

    @randomfan,

    I can definitely see where you’re coming from, and in a sense that’s correct. The reason I think that semantics are important in this case — that it’s important that we say it one way and absolutely not the other — is that the minute we say Kobe was robbed, we give validity to LeBron for this year’s MVP.

    Think of it this way. We may mean it relative to LeBron, but if we say, “Kobe was robbed,” that basically implies Kobe should have won it the last two years. And if we say that Kobe should have won it, then for the same reasons it follows that LeBron should win it this year. And that’s just not correct.

    Instead, we have to stick to the fact that Kobe should not have won it the last two years — and, correctly, he did not — and that for the same reasons, LeBron should not win it this year. And that is the correct argument, and as long as we stick with that, it’s an iron-clad argument.

    Basically, if we want to take the position that LeBron doesn’t deserve it this year — and it’s the correct position — then we can’t imply that Kobe deserved it in either of the last two years for essentially the same things LeBron is doing this year, or we undermine our own position.

  6. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 29, 2008 12:22 pm

    @Brittney M,

    Quite understandable. And actually, in years past I have been in that camp as well. It really wasn’t until I started putting the effort into this site that I took a closer look at the history, started to understand the reasoning, etc. Now, I not only understand that this is how it is, but I’m actually of the opinion that it’s a good way to do it.

    And the problem you have still exists. We just need to focus more on the fact that LeBron doesn’t fit the criteria this year. And when we recognize that Kobe didn’t the last couple of years, our position becomes stronger for saying that LeBron’s amazing play this year must be viewed in the same way Kobe’s has been the past couple of years.

  7. randomfan says...March 29, 2008 10:48 pm

    "Think of it this way. We may mean it relative to LeBron, but if we say, “Kobe was robbed,” that basically implies Kobe should have won it the last two years. And if we say that Kobe should have won it, then for the same reasons it follows that LeBron should win it this year. And that’s just not correct."

    sorry if my explanation was a bit misleading. i hope this one is clearer: my stance is that if lebron wins it this year (whether or not it is consistent with past voting patterns), then kobe was robbed of the last 2, whether it was "deserved" or not. i think that up there you’re combining two disparate cases into one circular statement: "if lebron wins it kobe was robbed, but if kobe was robbed, lebron deserves it". but what i was trying to say is just the first half: "if lebron wins it this year, whether it would be consistent or not, then kobe should have gotten the last 2". blah, i have the distinction in my head between yours and mine, but i’m not sure if i’m properly getting it into words. hopefully it is. but this is trivial, i’m just glad we both think lebron doesn’t deserve it this year (for valid reasons, of course)

  8. randomfan says...March 29, 2008 10:55 pm

    at least we now definitely know today after the cavs lost to the pistons that, under strict precedence, lebron is out of the mvp race this year.

  9. lalball81 says...April 1, 2008 7:00 pm

    Hey Josh would you mind if I used one of your articles as an example of a nonfiction piece about basketball for a school project? 

    Can’t find anything better than what you have on this site, really.

  10. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 2, 2008 6:49 am

    @lalball81,

    Sure thing. You can use anything you want from here, in any way you like, just as long as you cite it.

  11. wondahbap says...April 2, 2008 6:55 am

    I disagree.  Kind of.  I do think Kobe was a legitimate MVP candidate in ’05-06 because, he "led a terrible Lakers team to 45 wins."    It wasn’t just the stats.   He carried the team to credibility. Maybe not Championship material at the time, but a real threat in the playoffs, none the less.  I have no problem with LeBron’s candidacy, because I do feel he deserves to be one.  Just as Kobe should have been a true candidate in the previous two years.  It’s not LeBron’s fault that the mediahas a bias.  It’sthe media’s fault that, all of a sudden, the "criteria" has changed.  The problem with MVP voting is there are too many personal agendas taking priority, as opposed to fair, objective voting.  It’s not that it Kobe’s "time." He truly deserves the MVP this year.  He has done everything what these so called "experts" wanted, but now people like Bill simmons say that Kobe did deserve the MVP 2 years ago,so that they can award LeBron now.  If anything, Lebron should be penalized for not improving the Cavs, who went to the Finals last year, but have been inconsistent this year.  Nash deserved his first, not the second, Dirk deserved his.  Kobe should have won in ’05-06, and should win this year, and LeBron should be a candidate, but no winner.

  12. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 2, 2008 7:54 am

    @randomfan,

    In a microcosm of the last three years, and completely ignoring everything previous to those last three years, yes, LeBron winning it this year would equate to Kobe being robbed the last two years. But perhaps it would make more sense to say something like, “It would show the favoritism given to LeBron over Kobe.” Because the key here is the different treatment given to the two superstars that would be obvious if LeBron won it this year.

    I think the point you make about “combining two disparate cases into one circular argument” is exactly what I’m trying to get at. The two statements you list are if LeBron wins it Kobe was robbed and if Kobe was robbed, LeBron deserves it.

    You’re right, these are contradictory statements, and thus circular. If LeBron wins it, Kobe was robbed, meaning LeBron deserves it, which means Kobe deserved it, which means he should have won it, which means he was robbed, which means LeBron deserves it, which means he should win it… etc. It’s a complete circular argument.

    But I’m actually not making that argument. I’m arguing against that, precisely because it is circular. Think of it this way. There are two sets of statements, and one of them must be true:

    1. Kobe deserved it, and was therefore robbed. Therefore, LeBron deserves it by the same criteria, and if he doesn’t get it this year, will also have been robbed.
    2. Kobe didn’t deserve it, and was therefore not robbed. Therefore, LeBron doesn’t deserve it (for the same reasons Kobe didn’t), and shouldn’t win it this year.

    In the larger context, only one of the above statements can be true, because the same criteria should apply to both of them. Therefore, since LeBron is essentially doing what Kobe did the last couple years, making the two circumstances equivalent, the judgment should be the same for both. Either (a) they both were/are deserving, in which case, if LeBron does not win this year, they would both have been robbed; or (b) they both were/are not deserving, in which case they should not win it, and if LeBron doesn’t win it, neither will have been robbed.

    To continue logically, it follows that if only one of them wins it, and the other doesn’t, then either the one who didn’t win it was robbed, or the one who won it did so unjustly. Again, this is determined by the larger context. If the larger context says that they both deserved it, then the one who won it did so rightly, and the one who didn’t win it was robbed. If the larger context says that neither of them deserved it, then the one who won it was shown favoritism and won it unjustly, while the one who did not win it lost it rightly.

    The larger context is the key in all of this. Based on the larger context, the same judgment must be applied to both of them, since both were/are considered candidates for the same reasons (statistical superiority and leading a poor team to the Playoffs). Since the larger context shows that neither was deserving, then the verdict — that neither of them should win it (or, in Kobe’s case, should have won it) — applies to both. Therefore, the result was correct as it applied to Kobe in the last two years. It would only be incorrect if LeBron won it this year.

    So, given the larger context, it would not be correct to say Kobe was robbed of it last year or the year before — even if LeBron does win it this year. If that happened, it would be correct to say that LeBron did not deserve it this year and won it as a result of favoritism, preferential treatment, etc.

    Now, I think I know what you’re getting at. What I think you’re saying is that in the smaller context of the last three years, if LeBron wins it then Kobe was robbed. That is, it would mean that Kobe was robbed of the respect and recognition given to LeBron. That is why you say, “if lebron wins it this year, whether it would be consistent or not, then kobe should have gotten the last 2.”

    Perhaps that makes more sense if you think of it in terms of changing the criteria. There are those out there that claim that the 50-55+ wins criteria is absurd and should be changed, and that LeBron’s amazing season just goes to show how ridiculous it is. In that context, it is absolutely correct that it would be completely unfair to change the rules this year. It would be doing an injustice to Kobe, because it would mean that we refused to change the criteria when he was doing it, and then decided to change it once he stopped doing that thing. In essence, it would come down to this: Kobe didn’t get the award when he was doing [A] because the criteria was [B]; now that he’s doing [B], the criteria is [A].

    That, of course, would be hugely unjust. And in that circumstance, I would say he would definitely be robbed. But I think he would be robbed this year, not the last two.

    That, I think, it my point. You can’t say Kobe was robbed the last two years, because it was completely consistent with the previous 23 years. You can, however, say two things if LeBron wins it this year: first, that LeBron won it unjustly, and second, that Kobe was robbed this year.

    I can agree that LeBron winning it this year would equate to Kobe being robbed. But it would equate to Kobe being robbed this year, when he deserves it and LeBron does not. After all, that is the definition of being robbed, is it not (in this context)? To be robbed of the MVP Award is to be denied it when you deserve it, with the award going instead to someone who does not deserve it. Therefore, the question of whether a player deserves it is really what makes the determination of whether or not a player is robbed of it. One cannot be robbed of an award which they do not deserve. Therefore, since Kobe did not deserve it the last two years, he cannot have been robbed of it, under any circumstances. But since he does clearly deserve it over LeBron this year, then it would follow that giving it to LeBron would be to rob Kobe of it this year.

    If I can interpret what I think you’re attempting to do another way, I think what you’re doing is making a judgment — in this case, that Kobe was robbed — within the context of how one player relates to the other, rather than the larger context. And that’s not wrong. You’re basically relating one to the other. As in, if LeBron gets it, then Kobe deserved it as much as LeBron does, and was robbed compared to LeBron. It is a way of comparing and relating the two players, keeping them on the same plane. But can’t we do the same thing while at the same time still being true to the larger context? To say that LeBron doesn’t deserve it this year because Kobe didn’t the last two is just as effective a comparison of the two, and how they relate to each other, as to say that the one was robbed relative than the other. It is simply describing it in opposite terms. Rather than saying the one was robbed because the other got the award, it’s saying that one was undeserving because the other didn’t get the award. Both methods successfully compare the two players to each other, holding them to the same standard, but the latter allows you to also hold them to the same standard that all other players have been held to. Therefore, to say that Kobe didn’t deserve it the last two years, and therefore LeBron doesn’t deserve it this year, would seem to me a more correct statement.

    Anyways… I’ve gone on for quite a bit. I think that, to sum it up, it comes down to two things: (1) One cannot be robbed if one was not deserving; and (2) it is a long-term, thoroughly reinforced precedent that determines whether or not one is deserving. Therefore, since the larger context determines that Kobe was not deserving in either of the last two years, it follows that he was not robbed. On the same hand, since the larger context determines that Kobe is deserving this year, much more so than LeBron, it follows that if Kobe loses the award to LeBron then he would be robbed of it this year.

    Let me know if you think I’ve made a logical error in all of this, and I’m glad to explore it further.

  13. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 2, 2008 8:17 am

    @randomfan,

    at least we now definitely know today after the cavs lost to the pistons that, under strict precedence, lebron is out of the mvp race this year.

    Very true. When I wrote this article, the Cavs had lost 32 games, meaning they had to win every remaining game for him to be a legitimate candidate. They have lost since then, so he no longer meets the minimum requirement.

  14. Brittney M says...April 2, 2008 10:19 am

    But I kind of disagree with the latest comments that were made saying if Lebron wins then Kobe was robbed and if Kobe was robbed Lebron deserves it. Lebron meets none of the criteria now and all he has left are his stats, his team sucks and I really don’t believe he makes his team mates better. In all Lebron doesn’t deserve it and should be wiped from MVP discussions all together. I feel Kobe has done twice as much then Lebron the last three years for his team despite media’s bias and I feel Kobe is doing the same this year. I agree with Josh, the only thing you can really say to Lebron winning the MVP this year is that the media adores him. 

  15. randomfan says...April 2, 2008 1:25 pm

    (to the latest response. too long to copy-past, haha) yes, that is what i already had in mind (the larger context notion), and which was already the point of this article. i cited the circular statement not because it was your particular stance, but because i believed that’s what you thought i was trying to say, which was not. however, my point, and only point, was restricted to these two players only, regardless of the the history framing their case. i already do understand that framed in the larger context that kobe was not robbed, but i only wanted to restrict the view to now and the past 2-3 years in order to express how kobe would be robbed in the case lebron won it, regardless of whether it was correct or not (this last note is the crucial distinction). i think we’re both agreeing on the same things (small and large contexts). but yeah, outside of this, it would definitely show favoritism towards lebron.

  16. randomfan says...April 2, 2008 1:39 pm

    oh hey josh, i have always been meaning to ask you because you’re the first person i encountered online (at least in kobe discussions) who thinks like i do, and i was really curious how old you are, what you studied in which college and what kind of occupation you’re in (don’t have to get specific about where you work, since that would be too private information). man, i didn’t mean to but this is starting to sound like an interview. you don’t need to tell if you’re not comfortable with posting personal things on the web.

  17. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 2, 2008 2:36 pm

    @randomfan,

    Good, in that case, we definitely do agree. Relative to LeBron and only LeBron — and removed from the larger context of the last 25 years — one can consider Kobe to have been robbed if LeBron wins the award this year. Robbed of the respect that Kobe deserves, which is prematurely given to LeBron. Robbed of the recognition of what he has done, which is even more impressive than what LeBron is doing (equivalent record in a tougher conference with a weaker team, both offensively and especially defensively).

    In the larger context, it would be said more properly that Kobe got what he deserved (or didn’t get what he didn’t deserve) and LeBron (if it happens) would get what he didn’t deserve. But completely removed from that context, and comparing the two only to each other — which is a valid perspective, as that’s something a lot of people are doing these days — your point is quite correct.

    Thanks for clarifying that, I understand now your perspective and the context within which you make that statement.

  18. John Krolik says...April 2, 2008 11:24 pm

    Folks, Here are Kobe’s stat lines next to the MVP winner for that year (with the player I personally believe should have won the award in parentheses):

    05-06:

    Bryant: 35.4/5.3/4.5 on 56% True Shooting
    Nash: 18.8/4.2/10.5 on 63% True Shooting
    (James): 31.4/7.0/6.6 on 57% True Shooting

    06-07:

    Bryant: 31.7/5.6/5.4 on 58% True Shooting
    Nowitzki: 24.6/9/3.6 on 60.5% True Shooting
    (Nash): 18.6/3.6/11.6 on 65.4% True Shooting

    07-08:
    James: 30.4/8.1/7.3 on 57% True Shooting
    Bryant: 28.6/6.3/5.4 on 57% True Shooting
    Paul:     21.5/3/11.4 on 58% True Shooting

    There’s a difference between the edge James has over Bryant right now and the advantage Bryant has had over the other top MVP candidates in years past. Kobe led the league in scoring, but was beaten by a player who shot the ball more efficiently and beat Bryant by a considerable margin in either rebounds or assists-if you follow the rudimentary formula of 1 assist being equal to two points, than Bryant only produced 4 more points per game than Nash in 05-06 while shooting the ball a full 7% less efficiently, and the exact same amount of points as James while shooting the ball slightly less efficiently and accruing less rebounds. Kobe may have had a statistical advantage over Nash and Nowitzki, but their advantages in at least 2 of the 4 major (in my eyes) statistical categories was enough of a mitigating factor to allow the voters to be swayed by the latter pair’s clear advantages in team success-as both were more efficient and either passed or rebounded the ball better for their respective teams, it’s not hard to see the argument that their execution for high-win teams (In the case of Dirk, an astronomical 67), was more valuable than Kobe’s execution for marginal-win teams.

    This year, James bests Kobe by a significant margin in all three major categories, and has done so in a more efficient manner when you factor in true shooting and turnover ratio. Giving James the award wouldn’t be a clear indication of bias, it would be recognizing the difference between a scoring title/superb individual season and true statistical dominance, which would make the award an extremely tough call given the massive disparity in wins between the two teams-while I personally can’t see how Kobe Bryant has been more valuable to his team by scoring less, rebounding less, accumulating less assists, shooting the same percentage, and turning the ball over more has been a major part of the difference between the Lakers and the Cavaliers’ records, the team success factor of recent years requires Kobe to be acknowledged as being directly responsible in some way for his team’s higher win total.

    And Josh, I personally like my "I don’t think a player has won an MVP award when one of his contemporaries has outperformed him in all three major statistical categories, let alone while doing so without being more efficient-maybe it happened when Bill Russell won out over Wilt Chamberlain in the ’60s" MVP rule, as it’s relative to whichever players are in the race, as opposed to your "No player has won an MVP on a sub-50 win team since 1978, hence this shall be a completely arbitrary requirement for all future MVPs" rule, which this article tells me that LeBron and not Kobe should have received MVP consideration in the past two seasons. Anyways, CP3 is going to win this thing, and he probably should-LeBron only has a marginal statistical advantage over him, and CP3 absolutely destroys the Cavs in terms of records.

  19. Brittney M says...April 3, 2008 9:12 am

    @John Krolik

      Josh I know you can break his recent comment down better then I can so I will leave that to you, all I can say to Krolik is Kobe may have to cure cancer, save the world, loose a leg and still play dominent basketball for him to even be considered in Krolik eyes and others who don’t see Kobe’s worth to his team as MVP. Someone made this comment on ESPN that I like regarding Lebron James and his team so I will offer that to Krolik also…..If Lebron is so valuable and so great for his team why are they losing while playing in the east?…Well whoever said it on ESPN said it better but if I find it I will come back and paste it but that was my version of what he said. If Chis Paul receives the MVP award then ok and Kobe will find away next time I won’t try to down play CP3 and his team being on top of the WEST, I will be alittle mad because Kobe has been everything you can ask the guy to be and do, but Kobe still can’t recieve that love. I don’t want Kobe to win MVP award just because he hasn’t won it and so they feel they need to throw him a bone so I’m starting to feel like Kobe, forget the MVP award give me RINGS. So I just hope the Lakers get Healthy and kill the WESTERN Conference come Playoff time. 

  20. Anonymous says...April 3, 2008 5:00 pm

    Fuck you. Seriously, that was a very very "safe" article you twit. You preach and beg and say that Kobe wasn’t robbed because Kobe fans aren’t arguing that Lebron James should be MVP this year. Are you kidding me? First off, you don’t even define what an MVP is. Are you saying that the MVP should be the best player on the best team? You tried to make a case for Dirk in the second half of your miserable entry. So I’m assuming that’s your take on what an MVP is, and if that is the case how could you concede that Lebron James has a case for MVP? You are wrong, and people are 100% right to say that LBJ doesn’t deserve it.

    You also argue that because LBJ is performing at a similar level that Kobe was performing at in the years that he was "robbed" Kobe supporters are being hypocritical. Well, I’m saying that Kobe is MVP because he is the best player and best talent on any team; and, going by the literal concept of MVP, Kobe should win the award because no other team in the NBA has been as unhealthy with as many key players injured. Yet, Kobe is basically single-handedly keeping the Lakers atop the Western Conference. A feat LBJ has failed to accomplish even with his healthy and athletic team. By my definitions, Kobe obviously was robbed the last 3 years and you are out of line and absolutely dim-witted. 

  21. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 7:15 am

    @randomfan,

    I don’t have any problem answering those questions. They’re pretty generic. I am 25 years old. I entered university at UC Santa Cruz as a literature major, but eventually decided that wasn’t for me. So, instead of checking out other types of writing majors, such as journalism, I foolishly went a completely different direction. I was a music major for a bit, but then I decided I wanted to have a life. I tried economics, but while it would have given me a good paycheck in life, it was just too boring to get through. Around this time, I took some time off, and then resumed my studies at the University of Oregon. I explored the possibility of an Africa Studies major, but the program was just getting off the ground and wasn’t well developed enough at the time.

    Around that time, I became very aware of the fact that I was struggling in school, mainly because I had no motivation for it. So I tried psychology, which I was told was the sluff major at the UO. Unfortunately, it didn’t really interest me very much, so I took another break from school.

    I finally resumed my studies at a Christian college and was able to complete a Biblical Studies program. I went that way mainly because I had realized that, due to my lack of motivation, I would need something easy, and this was something that, because of my upbringing, I already knew very well.

    I currently work for a very large computer company in their order services department, managing customer licenses in our database, making corrections to database errors, etc. It’s a good job, but it’s a boring job, and one that I’d like to leave behind as soon as possible. My dream jobs include writer, musician, webmaster, and firefighter, and I hope to be doing at least two of those things within the next year.

    Well, that was a little weird. Gotta be a first. Haha.

  22. Respect says...April 4, 2008 9:55 am

    Anonymous- I totally agree with you on this one. People are completely losing a grasp on the meaning of MVP and it’s almost sad to witness. KB is and has been the MVP for about four years now.

  23. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 10:16 am

    @John Krolik,

    There are a couple of problems with your argument. I’ll try to point them out here.

    First, the concept that statistics determine value is completely wrong. The day this game is about statistics is the day I stop watching. Given that, you can understand my concern with the fact that LeBron James fans, and the media that adore him, constantly encourage his statistical dominance, while at the same time trying to make everything — from the MVP to the “best player in the world” — about statistics. Given that LeBron’s primary goal is to become a “Global Icon” and the first sports billionaire — and that the best way to do that is to give the masses what they want — it worries me that the future face of basketball is going to be all about statistics.

    To put it a different way, allow me to quote from Hardwood Paroxysm — which, by the way, is home to self-proclaimed and extremely vocal “Kobe haters,” who favor LeBron James as both the MVP and the best player in the NBA.

    JVG on Mark Jackson’s MVP picks: “I can’t believe you have Kobe up there after losing to the Bobcats and Grizzlies.”

    Mark Jackson: “Kobe has better numbers.”

    JVG: “Oh, I forget that’s why we play this game. We don’t play for wins. We play for numbers.”

    What Jeff Van Gundy said.

    To put this into perspective and prove that it’s not all about statistics is not difficult. Simply consider this: If NBA greatness was all about statistics, then Oscar Robertson would be considered greater than Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain would be considered the best player of all time.

    For the overall statistics, look no further than Oscar Robertson. For example, here’s a list of the players with the most triple doubles — a feat that generally includes three of your four favorite statistics in points, rebounds, and assists:

    1. 181 – Oscar Robertson
    2. 138 – Magic Johnson
    3.  99 – Jason Kidd
    4.  78 – Wilt Chamberlain
    5.  59 – Larry Bird
    6.  43 – Fat Lever
    7.  30 – John Havilicek
    8.  29 – Grant Hill
    9.  28 – Michael Jordan
    10.  25 – Clide Drexler

    Nearing the end of his 5th year, LeBron has 17 triple doubles. That puts him on track for 51 in a 15-year career, or 68 in a highly unlikely 20-year career. Even that may be overly optimistic, as one would expect some of his statistics to drop once he plays with better players (and we all hope that he won’t always play with a sub-par team, like the current Cavs). Given all that, it’s not even a safe bet to assume that he will pass Larry Bird on this list.

    But let’s get back to Oscar Robertson. The man was so dominant across all of your “major” statistics that the closest runner up — the incredible Magic Johnson, a triple double machine in his own right — is a full 43 triple doubles behind him! To put that in perspective, 43 is the total number of triple doubles recorded by Fat Lever, who is 6th on the all-time triple double list.

    This would seem to pose a problem for you. If, as you imply, greatness is measured by across the board statistical dominance, then none has done it like Oscar Robertson, not even Michael Jordan. In fact, Jordan wasn’t even close. LeBron will be lucky to accumulate 1/3 the amount of triple doubles Robertson has. So I pose my question again: If across the board statistical dominance in your select few favorite categories is the determining factor for greatness, why is Oscar Robertson not considered the greatest player of all time?

    Now, let’s look at Wilt Chamberlain. He averaged 30.1 points and 22.9 rebound per game! He has the single-game records for most points (100) and most rebounds (55). Five different times, he led the league in both scoring and rebounding! In 1967-68, he averaged 24.3 points, 23.8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists, while shooting .595. However many points LeBron, Jordan, Kobe, or anyone else have contributed to their teams, Wilt contributed more. If I recall correctly, he’s the only player ever to have led the league in both points scored and assists.

    So why isn’t Wilt Chamberlain considered the best of all time? Why is it that, despite the statistical dominance of other players, Michael Jordan is considered the best of all time? Could it be, as Jeff Van Gundy suggested, that it’s actually not all about statistics? I think so — and thank God for that.

    There’s one more thing to say about this: Kobe Bryant could score more, rebound more, and assist more. He has shown, when necessary, that he is completely capable of racking up double digit assists. If Phil Jackson said to him, “When this game is over, you had better have at least 10 assists,” I absolutely guarantee you that he would. When he has played at the small forward position — which he has done several times this season out of necessecity, due to rampant team injuries — he has consistently averaged double-digit rebounds. With Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum out, and Lamar Odom the only serious rebounding threat left on the court, he has consistently raised his rebounding numbers significantly, because it was necessary.

    The fact is that Kobe Bryant could average more assists and more rebounds. But he’s more concerned about doing what it takes to win. With two 7-footers and rebounding pro Lamar Odom on the court, do you think he’ll be worrying about rebounds? No, of course not. In fact, were he to be overly concerned with getting his rebounding numbers, the Lakers would be consistently beat in transition, since the guards are the first line of defense in transition situations.

    He could average more assists, but to do so would be to dominate the ball more than any single player should in the triangle offense. That’s what people don’t seem to get. Watch the Cavs, and you see an everything-passes-through-LeBron system. But I guarantee you that if Kobe tried to make everything pass through him, Jackson would bench him. Here’s something to consider: The Lakers have FOUR different players averaging 3 or more assists per game. They have SIX players averaging better than 2.7 assists per game! That clearly speaks to the fact that the Lakers system is specifically designed for ball movement. Consider also this: Who brings the ball down for the Lakers? Who sets up plays? Is it the point guard? Sometimes. Is it Kobe? Sometimes. Is it Lamar? Sometimes. It’s not like Utah, Phoenix, New Orleans, etc., where the system is run by a traditional point guard. And it’s not like Cleveland, where LeBron essentially plays point-forward.

    I’ve made the point several times on this site that Kobe has only ever done what Phil Jackson and the coaching staff asked of him. In 2005-06, when he averaged over 35 points per game only to change it up and become facilitator in the playoffs, both Kobe and Phil Jackson said repeatedly that it had been Jackson’s idea that Kobe carry the offensive load through the regular season while the team learned the triangle. Jackson had specifically asked Kobe to do what he did, and so he did. When Jackson felt that Kobe’s teammates could handle the triangle, they switched to it, and Kobe was more than willing to facilitate. IN 2006-07, Kobe continued what he’d done in the playoffs, facilitating first and letting his points come to him. Even when rampant injuries caused the team to lose 13 out of 16, Kobe stayed true to the coaches’ wishes, playing facilitator and doing what was asked of him. Finally — too late, if you ask me — both Phil Jackson and Tex Winter asked Kobe to take over again, and he did. Both Phil and Tex confirmed this to the media several times. Only then did Kobe become a shoot-first scorer again, carrying the team. And guess what? They won!

    You see, Kobe can’t win. In the last couple years, he carried the team offensively, and people clamored for him to get his teammates more involved, defer to the team, etc., calling him a stat-seeker and a ball hog. Now, he’s done exactly what was asked of him, reducing his own individual statistics in favor of winning! And now, LeBron’s advocates want to criticize Kobe for not having the individual statistics? Really??!

    That’s the point. It’s not about statistics. As Jeff Van Gundy pointed out, it’s about winning. That’s what Kobe has always done. That’s what Kobe and the Lakers have done this year. And despite LeBron’s fantastic statistics, he’s not matching that this year.

    Kobe has done what was necessary for the Lakers to win — reduced his focus on scoring, gotten his teammates more involved, become a better leader. And it’s working, and the Lakers are winning. He may not have LeBron’s stats, but he’s got the result, and that’s what’s most important.

    Regarding Chris Paul, I won’t complain if he gets it this year. Kobe is still a better choice, but that’s alright, because Chris Paul is a very valid choice as well. But before you get carried away with Chris Paul, saying he’s more deserving than Kobe, read this article. Chris Paul hasn’t had to deal with major injuries. He hasn’t had to deal with his team rebuilding on the fly, in the middle of the season. He hasn’t had to keep his team on top of the toughest conference in history despite constant change in the active roster. And he hasn’t played through all types of sickness and ailments, including a pinky injury that requires surgery!

    And despite all of this — despite all the challenges and obstacles Kobe and the Lakers have had to face that Chris Paul and the Hornets have not — Kobe has kept the Lakers within 11/2 games of the top seed in the West! I don’t even care of Chris Paul and the Hornets take the top seed. The fact that the Lakers are literally biting at their heels, breathing down their necks, despite all of the roster challenges they’ve faced, is far, far more impressive than what the Hornets have done, and therefore more deserving.

    But again, if CP3 wins it, I’ll be okay with that. But I’m with Jeff Van Gundy when it comes to stats.

  24. Anonymous says...April 4, 2008 11:08 am

    It is undisputed that Lebron is ave. 30pts, 8rbs, and 7Ass: http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/index.html
    <http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/index.html>

    Randomly, one of the biggest Kobe fan pointed out to me that in 02-03 Kobe ave 30pts,
    7rbs, and 6ass with the most dominant big man on his team "Shaq”:
    http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/career_stats.html <http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/career_stats.html>

    My mouth dropped and I had to go back and look at the stats.

    "Calm down lebron fans, lebron is a beast and a force to be reckoned with, but
    to consider his stats this year as astronomical is a bit farfetched…the
    Kobester has been there done that….overweight shaq has been impeding his
    statistical progress for years and now that the Lakers have shed some weight,
    the sun will rise again Lakerland."

    “To act as if these numbers are almost un-heard of is absurd. Give credit where credit is due and embrace Lebron for his outstanding performance, but don’t cast it as an unconquerable feet. Its simply not. its a great accomplishment and lets leave it at that…And it doesn’t make him MVP…which supports van gundy’s comments!”

    I think this kid said all I could think of saying. Pretty well layed out uh?

  25. Rilwan says...April 4, 2008 11:17 am

    I just want to let you know that I truly enjoy reading your blog. Please keep up the good work. and Anonymous? Nice post! I’ve been looking for a way to rebut Lebron’s numbers this year. Its been hard because you can’t really shun such production…But I agree with the Kobe fan all the way…its a great accomplishment but it is surely not “astronomical”!

  26. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 11:38 am

    @Anonymous,

    First things first: As I do with all who use vulgar language in these comments, I’ll give you one warning. Keep it clean, and you can disagree with me all you like. Use foul language again, and your comment will be deleted. Now, on to your comment.

    F— you.

    I could say the same to you (of course, I’ll refrain) for making fools of the rest of us, and for invalidating our position that Kobe is the MVP this year. Because he is. Undoubtedly. But if you make a case for Kobe having been the MVP of the last two years, then others can use your same points to make a similar case for LeBron this year. And myself and many others don’t think LeBron is a valid MVP candidate this year. So, yeah, I could say the same thing to you for making it harder for the rest of us to make a valid case for Kobe this year.

    Seriously, that was a very very “safe” article you twit.

    Safe? In what way was it safe? Please tell me. How is it safe to write an article that some, such as yourself, will see as an anti-Kobe article, on a site that is clearly pro-Kobe and has primarily pro-Kobe readers? How is that safe?

    Pro-Kobe readers that don’t read the article well enough to understand that this isn’t anti-Kobe, it’s simply pro-consistency — like yourself — will be upset at me for making what they perceive of as an anti-Kobe argument. Meanwhile, LeBron fans (which are most Kobe haters) will still be upset with me because I’m still arguing that LeBron is completely undeserving of the award this year. And when I say “completely undeserving,” I mean that he shouldn’t even be considered in the first place, let alone win. So tell me, how is it “safe” for me to write an article that most fans, regardless of which side they fall on, will likely disagree with? I really want to know.

    You preach and beg and say that Kobe wasn’t robbed because Kobe fans aren’t arguing that Lebron James should be MVP this year. Are you kidding me? First off, you don’t even define what an MVP is.

    Actually, I already addressed that issue in a couple other articles. It wouldn’t make sense for me to completely rehash these things again in this article. The article would become intolerably long and no one would want to read it. However, every relevant article that I had previously written on the subject is referenced and linked to in this article. Click here to jump to that part of the article (which will give you the opportunity to read my positions on what the qualifications for the NBA’s MVP Award are, as well as my evaluations of each of the four serious MVP candidates, and why I believe Kobe Bryant is hands down the MVP of this season).

    Given this, I’m left wondering if you actually read what I wrote, or if you just glanced at the title and decided to tear me a new one?

    Are you saying that the MVP should be the best player on the best team?

    No. But if you read my previous articles on the subject, you’ll see that I’ve made a strong case for why precedence demands that the MVP (a) be the MVP of his own team, and (b) come from one of the elite teams in the NBA. In some years, that’s two or three teams. This year, I’d argue that at least five teams meet that criteria. In this context, my position is that Kobe, the most valuable player on the Lakers, which is one of the elite teams in the league, is the best option for MVP.

    You tried to make a case for Dirk in the second half of your miserable entry. So I’m assuming that’s your take on what an MVP is, and if that is the case how could you concede that Lebron James has a case for MVP?

    When have I ever conceded that LeBron has a case for MVP? I have consistently argued that he is not a valid candidate. In fact, my position has long been that he does not even deserve mention or consideration in the discussion. My one concession was that if the Cavs won their last 15-or-so games, he would be a valid candidate. He still would be a weak candidate, but he would at least meet the minimum criteria. Even then, however, he would only qualify as an exception, in the same vein as Jordan and Nash, since aside from these two every other MVP of the last quarter-decade has won 55+ games.

    Most importantly, LeBron didn’t win 50 games. And it was obvious he wouldn’t. But to say that I wouldn’t even consider him a valid candidate, though a weak one, would be inconsistent and illogical.

    You are wrong, and people are 100% right to say that LBJ doesn’t deserve it.

    Funny… I’m one of them.

    You also argue that because LBJ is performing at a similar level that Kobe was performing at in the years that he was “robbed” Kobe supporters are being hypocritical. Well, I’m saying that Kobe is MVP because he is the best player and best talent on any team; and, going by the literal concept of MVP, Kobe should win the award because no other team in the NBA has been as unhealthy with as many key players injured.

    Don’t confuse this year and past years. I argue that Kobe fans who say he was robbed the last two years are being hypocritical if they don’t acknowledge that LeBron has done essentially the same thing this year. You can make the case that Kobe deserves the MVP because he’s the best player/talent on any team. But that’s not how the MVP Award works. Again, I’ve already gone over that in previous articles.

    But this year is different. He meets those criteria. He is the best player on one of the elite teams in the league.

    Yet, Kobe is basically single-handedly keeping the Lakers atop the Western Conference. A feat LBJ has failed to accomplish even with his healthy and athletic team.

    I agree! I’ve made that point several times! Over and over again, I have made the point that when Kobe was doing what LeBron is doing this year, he was doing it with a weaker offensive team, a MUCH weaker defensive team, and more injuries… and in the stronger Western Conference! I completely agree with you that what LeBron has done with the Cavs this year, while impressive, is still not what Kobe managed with the Lakers the last two years. If you’d read what I’ve written, you’d know that.

    By my definitions, Kobe obviously was robbed the last 3 years and you are out of line and absolutely dim-witted.

    That may be true. But unfortunately, your definitions don’t apply to this context. I’ve made very, very clear the context I’ve been writing in. I referenced it in this article. Given that, it would be completely unreasonable to suddenly change my definition of the MVP now, just so that I could say Kobe was robbed the last two years.

    But that’s what you’re doing. Because if you go with your definition, LeBron has done more individually than Kobe has this year, and he has carried his team more than Kobe has this year. With a literal, traditional definition, LeBron would be MVP because the Cavs would suffer more without him than the Lakers would without Kobe. But you don’t get that, do you? You want to be able to change your criteria year by year, so that you can say that Kobe deserved it the last two years, and he also deserves this year. And that’s why you make it hard for the rest of us.

    Here’s some advice: Try to be consistent. Because if you’re going to flip-flop and change your criteria for MVP every year so that Kobe fits it, no one is going to listen to you, and you’re going to make those of us Kobe fans who are actually reasonable and consistent look bad.

    And next time you want to criticize me for any positions I have taken… try reading, first.

  27. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 11:44 am

    @Brittney M,

    It’s a valid point, Britt.

    Hey John, want to take a crack at this? After all, shouldn’t a player’s value be seen in how it translates into results for the team?

  28. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 11:48 am

    @Respect,

    You can make a case, if you’d like, for the idea that people lost their grasp on the meaning of the MVP Award 25 years ago. But you can’t blame them for consistency right now. Unfortunately, if you ask them to change back to the literal definition this year, LeBron will get it over Kobe. Is that what you want? Because that would mean Kobe didn’t get it the last two years when he wasn’t meeting their criteria, and now that he is, they change the criteria so he doesn’t meet it again. If anything, changing the criteria and causing Kobe not to get it again would actually be the most unfair thing possible.

    But… 4 years? Two years, you could make your case. You’d be wrong, but you can make it. But 4 years? You’re just guaranteeing that no one will take you seriously when you say that.

  29. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 11:50 am

    @Anonymous,

    Absolutely correct. I think someone has pointed that out once before on the comments at this site, and it’s worth mentioning. It is on my list of things to include in upcoming articles.

    What LeBron is doing is truly amazing. But Kobe’s numbers that year were even better when taken in the context of the fact that he was playing with a huge, dominant, whining Shaquille O’Neal, who didn’t allow him to monopolize the ball the way LeBron has been able to this year.

  30. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 4, 2008 11:52 am

    @Rilwan,

    Thanks for the compliments. I do hope we all remind ourselves to appreciate LeBron James, the same way we want people to just appreciate Kobe (see Doc Rivers quote at the top of the page). That said, it is important to keep things in context, and a lot of people seem to be getting carried away right now.

  31. Respect says...April 4, 2008 1:47 pm

    Okay, maybe not four years. I exaggerated. My fault. However, 02-03 was one year (even though shaq was still there), 03-04 he has the trials etc so his image was tainted, although he still had a HUGE season for them…04-05 was a horrible year although he still managed to be 2nd in scoring avg. We both know what happend in 05-06 and then 06-07. Both years he should have won. And if he doesn’t get it this year then something is wrong. All in all there are 3 legitimate years he should have won it and then this yr would make it 4. In other words he’s been the best the last four years, not including 04-05. You could even say he was the best on the ladder part of the 3 championship seasons.

  32. randomfan says...April 4, 2008 4:36 pm

    this isn’t entirely germane to the current conversation, but i just found a quote online that perfectly sums up the typical hater argument against kobe:

    "why are we always talking about potential and highlighting the FEW THINGS Lebron has done and bashing kobe and highlighting the FEW THINGS he can’t do"

  33. randomfan says...April 4, 2008 4:41 pm

    josh, i really hope you get to do what you want. i like your mentality and you deserve a big break

  34. Kyle South says...April 5, 2008 7:56 am

    Thank you for making this site. It’s nice to see other NBA fans, especially Laker fans, who can be logical and reasonable. I do also enjoy when you break down line by line someone’s completely absurd comment. It reminds me a bit of this:

    http://www.xkcd.com/406/

  35. MV says...April 6, 2008 1:40 pm

    Josh Tucker for Most Valuable Blogger.

  36. Oluseyi says...April 7, 2008 10:51 am

    I’ve been reading your articles enthusiastically, as a Kobe fan, for a couple of weeks now. I devoured your entire archive and looked forward to your contribution to Kobe Blog Day… but this is the clencher for me. This article, here, elevates your apologetics to insightful analysis. I’ve been impressed by your penchant for rigorous mathematical analysis as concerns statistics, but to also hold yourself and fellow Kobe fans to logical consistency?

    Bravo, sir. Bravo!

    I look forward to more from you.

  37. Brittney M says...April 7, 2008 12:43 pm

    @Josh

      Hey I think you should read this http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=jackson/080407&sportCat=nba Scoop Jackson the first ESPN analyst to tell the truth about the MVP  race and how Kobe ain’t gonna win it because of media’s bias towards him.

  38. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 10, 2008 6:52 am

    @Brittney M,

    In many ways, I agree with Scoop. Now, I still don’t think Kobe was robbed in past years, because I don’t think he was a valid candidate. But I think he could be right about this year and the future. Only time will tell. And a few more rings would make it all seem pretty laughable.

  39. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 10, 2008 6:54 am

    @Oluseyi,

    I must admit, I wasn’t expecting this to be the article to garner this kind of reaction from anyone. Thanks, and I appreciate other sports fans — regardless of their preference — who value consistency as much as I do.

    Thanks for your compliments. I’ll try not to disappoint.

  40. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 10, 2008 6:56 am

    @MV,

    You are too kind. Seriously.

    I appreciate the vote of confidence, though.

  41. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 10, 2008 7:02 am

    @Kyle South,

    That’s pretty funny stuff. More seriously, I must tell you that this article has had an unexpected “side effect,” if you will: people like yourself and Oluseyi have spoken up. And that’s important, because the rest of the league (and its fans) need to see that not all Lakers are unreasonable, irrational “fan boys.”

  42. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 10, 2008 7:11 am

    @randomfan,

    this isn’t entirely germane to the current conversation, but i just found a quote online that perfectly sums up the typical hater argument against kobe:

    “why are we always talking about potential and highlighting the FEW THINGS Lebron has done and bashing kobe and highlighting the FEW THINGS he can’t do”

    How very well said. The fact of the matter is that there is little to nothing that Kobe can’t do on the basketball court. Meanwhile, LeBron’s game is less developed than his advocates would have you believe (which is scary!). Just look up his Hot Spots data for one example.

    Thanks also for your support. I appreciate it.

  43. Brittney M says...April 10, 2008 7:16 am

    @Josh

      Many have argued and I kind of agree that the Hornets bench is not as deep as the Laker bench, they rotate less players but I think our bench is very inconsistant and so that should equal the Hornets bench. Just wanted to know what you thought about that?

  44. Brittney M says...April 10, 2008 8:30 am

    @Josh

    Just found this article http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-bryantformvp040908&prov=yhoo&type=lgns it seems some Yahoo writers can get things right so I thought you might want to read it. Kobe seems to have some support for MVP but I don’t know if it’s enough so I guess we will have to wait and see.

  45. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 17, 2008 11:37 am

    @Brittney M,

    Were the Lakers healthy, it may be a valid point that the Lakers’ bench is deeper. However, as I discussed in an article on MVN, the Lakers have been fraught with injuries this year, making this a moot point.

    Why do you think it is that the Lakers rotate more players in? Could it have anything to do with the fact that several starters have had long stretches of injuries, meaning that several reserves have had to up their minutes, sometimes starting? Let me tell you this: When Ronny Turiaf ‐ whom I love but is really a second string power forward, at best — is starting at center and DJ Mbenga is the first guy off the bench, I think the whole depth theory is pretty much shot to hell.

    It’d be more accurate to say the Lakers would have more depth if they were all healthy. Or, you could say that the Lakers have had just enough depth to survive a multitude of injuries. But that depth is long gone.

    Meanwhile, not only have the Lakers not had the depth they would have if they were all healthy, like New Orleans, but they also haven’t had the consistency New Orleans has had. Consistency is huge. It enables you to build on what you’ve already accomplished. With as much in flux as has changed for the Lakers this season, that makes it difficult for the team to lay a foundation and then build on it, little by little, throughout the season. The foundation is constantly changing.

    Given all of that, I think it’s safe to say that LA’s deeper bench is, at the very least, cancelled out by New Orleans’ health. And personally, I think New Orleans’ consistency gives them an advantage.

  46. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...April 17, 2008 11:42 am

    @Brittney M,

    Honestly, I think Wojnarowski comes to the right conclusion for all the wrong reasons.

    Kobe is the MVP. No doubt about that.

    But he’s basically making a “lifetime achievement award” argument, which is wrong and unnecessary. Furthermore, it shows an inability to construct the correct argument — the correct reasons for why Kobe is the MVP this season, completely independent from the rest of his or anyone else’s career. It also does a disservice to Kobe, who doesn’t need any pity points.

    Don’t forget your boy. Kobe is ruthless, heartless, a killer… when it comes to basketball. Why, then, would he ever want to win an award on pity points?

    I think there are a dozen different reasons for which Kobe is this season’s MVP, and put together, they make the most solid MVP case possible. But not a single one of those reasons includes anything that happened prior to the summer of 2007.

    Fortunately, he’s going to get it this year. And for the right reasons.


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