Kobe Bryant is obviously the MVP of the Lakers and is arguably the best player in the NBA. His been carrying the Lakers in the past few games, by either taking up the scoring load or assuring the Lakers a victory. However, who is the Lakers next MVP, which player is needed for every game? Some argue that it’s Pau Gasol, Lamar Andrew, or even Ron Artest. But one thing is understood, there is no clear-cut winner.
The first candidate is a 7 foot center from Spain, Pau Gasol. Most people agree that Gasol is the Lakers 2nd best player, but is he the 2nd most valuable player? He helped bring the Lakers to the promise land last year, and this year, Gasol has averaged 18.3 ppg and 11.3 rpg. Based on his stats, he’s had a more productive regular season than his front-court colleague Andrew Bynum.
Gasol has also stepped in this postseason, by averaging 18.7 ppg and 13 rpg. Not to mention saving the day in Game 6 of the first round, when he tipped in the game winning shot. He will most likely never win a league MVP, but is he your Lakers MVP?
The second candidate is a 6 foot 10, 10 year veteran from Rhode Island, number 7 Lamar Odom. He is the first man off the bench for the Lakers and has averaged 11.3 ppg and 8.2 rpg. When he started for the Lakers, he averaged 12.2 points and 11.6 boards per game. The numbers may not be as flashy as Gasol’s, but the presence of Odom is definitely felt. In the past few games, Lamar has made key plays down the stretch, and without that one rebound or that one tip-in the Lakers would most likely have lost. With him in the lineup, opponents have had a hard time adjusting to their size, and if Lamar plays the small forward position, the Lakers are essentially unstoppable.
In the games won, Lamar has put up 11 ppg and 10 rpg, while in the games lost, he only has put up 10 points and 9 rebounds. So there are the stats for your Lakers MVP candidate.
The next MVP candidate is another 7 footer, from St. Joseph HS (NJ), number 17 Andrew Bynum. This year, he has been facing injuries, and has never truly been 100%. In the 09-10 regular season he averaged 15 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Similar to Lamar Odom, his numbers are not amazing, but the presence of Bynum is very important. Although Andrew only averaged 1.4 blocks, he altered many shots and challenged everyone who came down the lane.
Both Andrew and his partner, Pau Gasol, are carrying the Lakers on the defensive end. Andrew Bynum is a very deserving of the Lakers 2nd MVP.
The final candidate for the MVP is a forward from St. Johns, number 37 Ron Artest. This is the first year he has played for the Lakers, and it has been very streaky year. In certain stretches, Ron has gone cold from the field, and could not guard his player. In other nights, he is lights-out from the field and essentially shuts down the opponent’s main man. During the regular season, Artest averaged 11 points, 3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. In the first 9 games of the playoffs, his numbers have been slipping; averaging 10.3 points, 2.6 assists and only 3 rebounds per game.
Artest was brought in to work his magic in the playoffs, and so far he has done a good job. In the first round of the playoffs, he made Kevin Durant work for every shot. Durant would score 20 points, but because of Ron Artest, he would get it on 20 shots. So there are the numbers and season story for the MVP candidate, Ron Artest.
It may be difficult to choose a 2nd MVP for the Lakers, since all those players mean so much to the team. You can’t go wrong picking the 7 foot Spaniard, the versatile Lamar Odom, the up-and-coming dominant center Andrew Bynum or even the lock-down Ron Artest.
Although they all can be considered the MVP, we can only have one winner, who is it?
Follow Ramneet Singh on Twitter @RamneetKB24.