NBA MVP – Who? (Hardwood Paroxysm)

22 01 2008

More on the NBA MVP debate here… Two of the guys from Hardwood Paroxysm write here… different styles, different choices. Both make a good case…

Corndogg, Hardwood Paroxysm – I will be committing Hara Kiri after I write this, but hey, you make sacrifices for the sports you love. Never in a bajillion eons did I ever expect to say, and most likely believe, the statement you will be reading forthwith. Kobe Bryant is your MVP. Yes, I said it, now may I go cleanse my mouth out with soap?

Kobe BryantSeriously though, Kobe has done everything you want an MVP to do. He has made his teammates better (something Lebron hasn’t done). He has added dimensions to his game that were, at best, latent before (passing, defense, leadership). And he has learned to control games at every single moment. Seriously, Kobe has Jedi mind control. He knows when the team should run, he knows when he should take over as super-scorer, he knows when to feed Bynum or Fisher and he knows when to stay out of the way and let the team he helped create do it for themselves. It is almost uncanny. What Lebron does is something completely different. He tries to get his teammates the ball for 3 quarters, finally realizes that they are complete imbeciles, and then doesn’t let the ball leave his hands in the 4th quarter as he tries to win the game all by his majestic lonesome. Lebron has made himself better (and he is still nowhere close to what he is going to be), but he hasn’t made his team or his teammates any better, which is what a true MVP does.

Kobe, on the other hand, has demanded that his team play up to his abilities, or else! And they have responded. The Lakers have basically the same team as last year (sans Derek Fisher and Trevor Ariza), but they are all playing FOR KOBE!! Before this season, noone really knew or cared who Sasha Vujojic, Vlad Radmonovic, Jordan Farmar or Luke Walton was. Hell, I don’t even know if I spelled their names correctly. Now, these guys are integral parts of a Lakers team that scares the freakin’ short shorts off every single team in the league. No one wants to face these guys and that is because the team has finally risen to Bryant’s level. Perhaps, Kobe is learning a lot more from Phil Jackson than any of us ever knew. And he is still the best player in the league.

Kobe Bryant… is this the year?And above all else, Kobe owns this team. He owns it. When Kobe tells them to jump, they say how high? It took stubborn Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak to realize this, but now they have. They finally gave him what he wanted and look how much of a difference it has made. Lebron doesn’t so much as raise a hand and look what Danny Freakin’ Ferry is doing to him. No upgrades, all excuses. Just like an MVP at the end of the game, Kobe put the ball in his hands and decided the outcome for himself. And he was flawless. And also, he is the best player in the league. So take that.
Matt, Hardwood Paroxysm – My intrepid partner refuses to acknowledge the subtlety of the question, so I’ll address it. The question is, who is GOING to win the NBA MVP this season. Not who should. The answer to the “should” question is simple. Dwight Howard AKA Big Daddy Baby Jesus has given the most MVP worthy performance this season. But he won’t win. Why?Because everyone loves LeBron James. Let’s be clear on this. I’m not saying a vote for James is wrong. James is putting in a season for the ages. His staggeringly diverse range of talents has never been so stunning as it has this season. But there have been players to do that before, and no one has cared. But James has the perfect storm necessary to snag the award.1. Appreciable Improvement of Spectacular Skills: James has taken what he started last year and through the playoffs and lebron.jpgbuilt on it. Gone are the questions of his clutch performance, as he’s single-handedly taken the team on his back and lifted them to victories. Gone are the doubts about his ability to get inside for hard buckets. Now when he starts to drive, you can literally hear the puckering of opposing fans’ backsides in fear. He’s managing to be efficient, ferocious, dominant, and to do all of that while leaving no doubt on the court about who the best player on either side is. There’s nothing he’s leaving out of his game right now.2. The Rest Is Juuust Bad Enough: LeBron James would not win the MVP if he were on the Miami Heat. LeBron James would not win the MVP if he were on the Los Angeles Lakers or the Phoenix Suns. But he’s on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that’s juuuust right. You see, th Heat are so bad, no one could win with them. If MJ was on that team, he would have demanded a trade six months ago. Ricky Davis is a veteran leader and scorer for them. That’s all I need to say. The Lakers and Suns are too good. People would question whether he was succeeding or if it was the talent that surrounds him. But the Cavs are just good enough to let him carry them to victories just a few more times than defeat, and just bad enough to make it clear that this team would be horrific without him. This was illustrated by the finger injury he suffered early in the season that showcased just how pathetic they are without him. He’s not just the best player, he’s the most valuable to his team. It pays to have Larry Hughes jacking up trash sometimes.

3. Killer Instinct: He was criticized so much for not having it. Well, he’s got it. And that goes a long way. The biggest reason there was discussion last season about Dirk, despite his impressive stats and contributions, on top of his team’s performance? Dirk has the killer instinct of a Tickle-Me-Elmo. James has acquired it. He’s simply in a zone right now, where if you let the Cavs within 5 with a minute remaining, you better hit every shot you get. Because he’s getting the ball and he’s going to score. And you can double him and send him to the line or guard him one on one and watch him school you. That goes a long way in the voter’s eyes.

james.jpg4. Everybody Loves LeBron: The biggest reason, though, is his media image. Despite his little blip with the radar the other day, he’s a fan and media favorite. He has commercials. He has merchandise. He interviews well. He’s likable, at least from the distance we’re kept. He is a known commodity that the NBA loves to promote, and the voters pay attention to what the media says. It’s a lot easier to see what LeBron does as its highlighted night in and night out on ESPN rather than Dwight Howard, who currently rules the exotic land of NBA League Pass.

James simply has too much going for him. He’s a worthy winner. Not necessarily more than other candidates in my opinion. But if I had to put $100 on one player, right now, it’s LBJ. All the way.

More submissions from other excellent writers later, but if you missed the first two installments they were NBA MVP – Who?, and State of the Association: The Forgotten Half

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5 responses

23 01 2008
Dave

Awesome stuff from Kobe & the Lakers. A pity about them losing Ariza too. He was really beginning to contribute. If Kobe and crew can stay above .500 while waiting for Bynum to come back, then Kobe’s your MVP for the season.

23 01 2008
NBA MVP - Who? (20 Second Time Out) « With Malice…

[…] you missed the last few, we’ve had NBA MVP – Who? (Hardwood Paroxysm), The State of the Association: The Forgotten Half, and NBA MVP – Who? There will be […]

24 01 2008
Empty the Bench - Fantasy Sports, Fantasy Football, Fantasy Basketball, NFL, NBA

[…] Player. New responses seem to still be coming in, but you can check out the picks so far here, here, and here. And, yes, my choice (Kobe) is somewhere in there […]

24 01 2008
NBA MVP - Who? (Prophet Fighting) « With Malice…

[…] you missed the last few, we’ve had NBA MVP – Who? (20 Second Timeout), NBA MVP – Who? (Hardwood Paroxysm), The State of the Association: The Forgotten Half, and NBA MVP – Who? There will be […]

24 01 2008
fouledout

@dave
without bynum and ariza, the lakers will be a one-man team again.. it’s KB24 show again..

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