Earlier today the NBA announced Kobe Bryant as the winner of the NBA's 2007-08 MVP award and I think I speak for most Lakers fans when I say it’s about freaking time.
Kobe gathered 1,105 points from the 126 sportswriters and broadcasters who sit on the MVP voting panel to best runner up Chris Paul who finished with 889 points.
The 216 point difference between KB24 and CP3 seems a little large for an MVP race that felt almost as controversial as a Democratic nomination election, but the contest looks more like a Huckebee beat down when you compare Kobe’s eighty-two first place votes to Chris Paul’s twenty-eight.
Despite this resounding win for Kobe, television and radio analysts harp repeatedly that Chris Paul was robbed. Now I agree that Chris Paul deserved serious consideration for the Maurice Podoloff Trophy but the main argument analysts fall back on – that Chris Paul did more with less help – is pure baloney.
First of all, Chris Paul has a fellow All-Star in his frontcourt in David West and a former three-time All-Star in the sharp-shooting Peja Stojakovic. Kobe Bryant? Nope, he doesn’t have a single other All-Star in the Forum Blue and Gold and the only former All-Star on the Lakers squad, Pau Gasol, played beside Kobe for barely a third of the season.
Furthermore, Kobe was the main constant on a squad that had few after losing Most Improved Player candidate Andrew Bynum to a season-ending knee injury midway through the year and adjusted his game to integrate Pau Gasol in the midst of the most competitive playoff race in NBA history. A race that the Lakers won, by the way. And lest we forget, a team can hardly do “more” than post the best record in its conference.
During that same period the Hornets also played well and finished second in the Western Conference, buoyed by the addition of Bonzi Wells, whose inclusion as a role player did not necessitate a dramatic change in Chris Paul’s style of play. No doubt CP3 and the Hornets also owe some of their success to the hardiness of their starting lineup, which avoided serious injury.
Obviously you can’t penalize Chris Paul for his good fortune in playing with another All-Star and a healthy supporting cast. But Kobe did more by leading his team to the better record and he also had less – fewer All-Stars and fewer healthy teammates. The MVP voting panel understood that the Chris Paul-does-more-with-less argument is phonier than a Hillary Clinton smile and that’s why Kobe received more first place votes – by a landslide.