The Los Angeles Lakers have 28 games remaining in the 2007-2008 season. And for the first time in what seems like decades, the Lakers are 20 games over the .500 mark, and have a legit chance to reach the Promise Land, that Kobe and Phil have longed for.
Saying the Lakers off-season was a circus, is an understatement to say the least. Kobe Bryant went into a trade me, trade me not scene that dominated sports talk shows up until opening night. The turning point of the year might not have been anything to do with the Lakers. It’s when Bulls General Manager, John Paxon, came out and said the Kobe talks were dead, the Los Angeles Lakers then took off like a bottle rocket.
A season so unexpected and so remarkable, that Kobe Bryant deserves to have the best player to never win an MVP monkey off his back.
Kobe Bryant’s remarkable season has been led by his amazing defense. He has made a point this year to guard the other teams best wing player. And he has done an amazing job. Earlier this year in Denver, Allen Iverson was dominating the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil switches Kobe to A.I., and it was over, Iverson was locked down, and the Lakers went on to win the game. Kobe’s defensive intensity has led one of the most improved team defenses of the year. As the Lakers are no longer a team that plays with no fire on the defensive end.
Kobe’s leadership is vastly improved this year. He maintained a calm head about things, and it seems the days of throwing his teammates under the bus are a distant memory. In fact, by throwing his teammates under a bus, he seems to have lit a fire that has not lit in L.A. since they glory days in the early part of this decade.
No doubt, Kobe is a warrior. He always has played if it was humanly possible for him to play. Almost every player in the NBA would be out right now if they had the same injury that is lingering Kobe. What his doing right now, playing with the torn ligament in his right pinky might be considered as an unnecessary risk to some.
However, Kobe knows the Lakers with the recent addition of Pau Gasol have a shot to win the WILD WILD WEST, and push through to the NBA Finals. Besides, Kobe Bryant is the best in the league at playing hurt, as it seems to only elevate his games to new heights.
Kobe’s offense is better then ever. That seems strange to say as it was just over two years ago when Kobe had a 81 point game, and averaged 35 PPG. But Kobe’s trust in his teammates has made the Lakers the most feared team in the Western Conference. His new found trust in his teammates has led to remarkable confidence in the rest of the unit, with the emergence of Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic.
Kobe’s numbers are MVP like again, as he is averaging 28.1 PPG, 5.2 APG, 6.1 RPG, while shooting .461 from the field. Not to mention he is the most clutch basketball player in the game today, if not the best ever. He always takes the big shots, and he usually delivers in a way that only “The Assassin” can.
After witnessing a 41 point outburst against the Phoenix Suns to ruin the debut of “The Big Cactus” there is no doubt in my mind that Kobe Bryant is the MVP of the NBA. Kobe is playing at a level, that no one is at, and to be honest, no one else may even been on the level below him. Kobe is playing that well. Bill Walton even said on ESPN shortly after the game that Kobe is playing the best ball of his career, an MVP like season, and as much as I hate to agree with Bill… he is right.
While Kobe has been shown no respect in MVP voting the last few seasons, as the award has mainly become a popularity contest, there is simply no denying him this year. If Kobe Bryant stays healthy, he should be the MVP, end of story. LeBron James said it best when asked about possibly winning the MVP “How can I when something Kobe Bryant hasn’t even won.”
I think I speak for the entire Lakers Nation when I say, “Well said LeBron, well said.” The time is now for the term valuable to be once again represented in the MVP award.