For the last three years Kobe has been denied the MVP award that so many thought he deserved due to his shooting and inability to prove that he makes his teammates better. In ever comparison ever made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordon the argument is the same. In fact, every analyst agrees that Kobe is a better pure shooter, a better ball handler and possibly even more clutch. The Kobe opposing argument: Michael Jordan had a way of improving his teammates and turning them all into superior players at their positions.
Lets go over MJ’s teammates briefly:
1) Pippen – Led Portland for years after Michael’s departure, I think Pippen was good enough on his own.
2) Rodman – Rebounding doesn’t take a good teammate who passes, it takes a big heart and lots of emotion.
3) Grant – Solid post up player no matter how you look at him. Sure, maybe once in a while MJ found him in a convenient location, but it wasn’t a big game altering experience.
4) Ron Harper – Great point guard and he showed it when he played in LA.
5) John Salley – See #4
6) Toni Kukoc and Steve Kerr – Both solid players and always known to be decent role players.
Now lets take a look at Kobe’s teammates this season and see how he has improved them:
1) Andrew Bynum – 8 points 6 rebounds in 22 minutes last year, 13 points 11 rebounds in 29 minutes this year. This is a dead argument, we all know what his success and improvement has meant to this team.
2) 4.4 points, 1.6 rebounds in 15 minutes last year, 10 points 2.4 rebounds this year. Whether it is Derek Fisher or Kobe that has helped Jordan develop into a solid point guard this year, he has been a great part of this team and means a lot to the success the team will have this year.
3) Kwame Brown – Kwame was booed in his first appearance in the Lakers lineup after Andrew’s injury, and Kobe made sure all the fans knew that what they did to his confidence was not okay. What happened the next game out? Kobe made it his job to make sure Kwame gets into a rhythm early, in fact, he was so much help to Kwame that he got two easy dunks in the first few minutes.
4) Luke Walton – He has matured well as a player and although he’s having a shitty year this year he is a solid role player under Kobe’s leadership. Lets not forget that he led the league in 3-point percentage the first half of last season.
5) Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic – Both of these players have clearly grown under Kobe and have shown that he encourages them to fly and make plays. Kobe moves a lot without the ball and it seems that these guys have caught on to this strategy.
The point is quite simple, Kobe has taken the fifth youngest overall team in the NBA to the top of the Western Conference and sit ahead of San Antonio, Dallas, Utah, Houston, Golden State, Portland, and the other 22 teams in the West that are legitimate title contenders. I think its time that the analysts finally give us the real reasons Kobe doesn’t win MVP. There is no excuse. When he was the leading scorer on a playoff team, he wasn’t good enough for MVP. Now that he is the leagues 2nd leader scorer while learning how to get all his teammates involved at the same time, hes not good enough because apparently Lebron’s .500 team is better led. Kobe haters, unite, open your eyes together, and give the man his props.