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Laker wins without Kobe do not make LeBron MVP

Feb 11, 2010, 12:03 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for nba_james1_250.jpgKobe Bryant has now missed three straight games due to his sprained ankle. Each game was decisive Lakers victory, complete with ball and player movement that have been all too rare this season. The Lakers have looked as good as they have all season.

For some, that is proof that LeBron James should be MVP.

The theory is that if a team is without its star player, and still plays well, then said player must not be very important to his team. So, if the Lakers are 3-0 without Kobe, is he that valuable to his team?

That’s some horrifically flawed logic. Teams often over perform without their stars (Bill Simmons called it the “Ewing Theory” for when the Knicks played over their head without the great center). Last year’s Rockets team played the eventual-champion Lakers tough without center Yao Ming. Where the Rockets a better team without the best center on the planet (when healthy)? No. Not even close. No, but they were scrappy and had some matchups that worked for them.

This happens all the time in sport, it proves nothing about the worth of the player. You can make a good case for LeBron as MVP without denigrating Kobe. Bryant’s fans could do the same thing. But for some reason this debate always devolves into insults and why one isn’t as good as the other.

Two different players. Two different games. It is possible to appreciate them both, to exalt them both. And to say one should be MVP without that being a slight to the other.

  1. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 23, 2010 at 4:08 AM

    From a scientific point, I guess the only way we will ever know is if LBJ and Kobe switch teams and see what happens…

  2. tee willy - Feb 23, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Basketball Fans: Everytime the best is debated its KOBE against some other player; what does that tell ya’ll—-I’d say the proof is in the pudding! We all know how good you have to be to get compared to Michael Jordan right? I love the young talented players out there, of which I’m gonna name a few that have more raw athleticism than KOBE. LeBron–D Wade–Kevin Durant–Rudy Gay–Monte Ellis–Jason Richardson–Vince Carter–even Nate Robinson!!! Kind of reminds me of Jordan vs Dominique Wilkins though—- Jordan was better in every aspect just about, however Dominique could jump over the moon. We all know Dominique got robbed in the slam dunk against Jordan in Chicago don’t we???? All the analysts in the NBA and Players have commented on that—-however. Thats how I view KOBE vs LeBron—Bron, Bron as I call him is easily stalking KOBE. There is no other player in the league that scares him other than KOBE. He knows he can intimidate everybody else; other than KOBE. HE knows if they play head up for all the marbles, KOBE has ice water in his veins, more moves than he would care to see, and the embarassment of losing head to head might send him into hiding 😉 Heck, he already ran out like a baby against Howard/Orlando after losing last year. Did you guys notice the same thing in they’re loss to Orlando last week. He left sucking his thumb again as he missed the three pointer. There are some things that come in time—when it’s his time there won’t be a debate—he won’t be scared of KOBE—KOBE will have lost more of his playing ability and LeBron will have developed all aspects of the game evenly. ie; mastered the game—-that might take another year or two. However, people marketing LeBron need him now, they need him to win a championship now. How can you promote LeBron if KOBE keeps kicking his behind, Orlando and Boston keep kicking his behind, looks like Carmelo wants some of LeBRONs behind already, DWade aint far away either. Look folks JORDAN had to wait his turn when Magic/Bird/Doctor J/Kareem and them were the best. So Lebron needs to take his linebacker mentality fast break to the GYM and learn some new skills to be able to beat the best out there. P.S. Who out there is on DRUGS and saying LeBRon doesnt have any team-mates////Have you seen that CLEVELAND had the best record last year and so far to this point this year???? That doesn’t happen with a pick-up team from the park folks!!! KOBE went through 6 to 7 years of hell with really bad players on his team, Kwame Brown and that point guard, I call him that point guard because he was so bad I can’t remember his name. Anyway, KOBE 62 points in three quarters against Dallas/ 81 points agaisnt Toronto modern day/ 60 something in the GARDEN last year and the man was 30/ and every given night teams have to bring their A game to beat the LAKERS and ya’ll are trying to give the credit to soft as warm marshmallows Pau Gasol???? He has skills, but come on man, looks like ya’ll hitting the pipe again. Have we forgotten what Boston did to Gasol and Bynum two years ago??? TITLES are WON by the best players in the League, with a great supporting staff. I don’t hear none of this BAFOONERY about BOSTON—THEY had Pierce/KB/RONDO/RAY Allen/all ALLstars last year or this year. Now they’ve picked up Rasheed for the playoffs and it’s like nothing has happened. Lakers do a downgrade in my book by trading a blosooming player in Trevor Ariza for a tired Ron Artest. If this was Artest of 4 years ago it would be great. Now Cleveland has SHAQ who is playing very good this year/their starting power forward with Verijo and ILguskis will be back in a month and you idiots are telling me LeBRon has no help. Mo Williams Allstar last year, SHAQ easily could have been an Allstar Center, especially in the East, Dalante West—let the chips fall where they may. LEBRON is gonna have to go through KOBE and the Lakers, the way JORDAN had to go through Isaih and the Pistons/Bird and the CELTICs/Ewing and the Knicks. BECAUSE IT’S LIKE THAT, AND THATS THE WAY IT IS!!!!! P.S. It ain’t happening this year either—-look to see him in N.Y. or Jersey next year because he’s gonna need DWade/Bosh/and maybe another star if they wan’t to beat the Lakers—–As long as they have a healthy KOBE BRYANT who hasn’t lost all his ability. He’s too damn smart ya’ll—–Peace Laker Nation!!!!

  3. RLE-SACTOWN - Feb 23, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    SMUSH PARKER! Really bad player with a attitude too!
    As far as Boston, they did handle Gasol, Odom and Ronny Turiaf, but Bynum was hurt that year. If Bynum was healthy, Boston would have lost to LA. The inside game was in bad shape and Ariza was coming off of a foot injury and was not as fluent in his defensive stance as he was in 2009. Gettting from spot to spot was tough.
    I agree with you on most other points “Tee Willy.”
    However, I do not think the Lakers or Kobe will be Cleveland’s initial issue, it will be Orlando, Boston and maybe Atlanta. They will have a hard time beating Orlando period! Boston would have to stay healthy and KG would have to average 20 ppg, 15 rpg, 3 bpg, and 4 apg. PP would have to average at least 25 ppg. Sugar Ray would need to be at least at 21 ppg. And Rondo, would have to average about 15 ppg. With the addition of Little Nate, they will present some issues for Cleveland.
    However, if they happen to get to Kobe and the LA Lakers, Lakers will win in 5 or 6 games!
    I do disagree that Artest is a downgrade. They average about the same from 3 point range. Ariza is just taller and quicker. But, he had a difficult time handling Carmelo and Paul Pierce. I think it was the right decision. Artest inside presence is important. You made that point about Gasol not be phyical at times. He has got better this year. The difference for LA in my opinion is Andrew Bynum. If he stays healthy and plays with a little more fire in his belly, there may be only a few teams that could even push them to 6 games. Dallas, Denver, Orlando and possibly Cleveland. Everyone else they will beat in 5 games or less.

  4. Barrie - Feb 23, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    why isn’t Kevin Durant in this mvp running. mvp isnt about the best player on the best team. The best TEAM means you have all the parts rolling as one. MVP should be the player with the biggest impact on a team, which at this point is Kevin Durant. And this is coming from a 31 year Lakers fan.

  5. barrie - Feb 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Oh and IF the cavs can make it past the weak east to the finals, regular season records and stats not counting anymore, the lakers, if they get past denver, will DESTROY the cavs in the finals. they’d be tourists visiting kobeland. A knowledgeable fan knows the post season requires experience in that setting, and except the spurs, nobody has more experience right now than the lakers.

  6. brooklyn kid - Feb 24, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    LeBron continues to sheet his draws in the playoffs, Kobe has a
    handful of rings, that’s why Kobe has to remind The King of NO Ring
    to look for his championship rings and now he added another to make it 5. LeBron will soon take a Jet to the arena, Kobe takes a Heli.

  7. #1 LAKERS - Feb 27, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Kobe is the BEST!
    Lebron is a Ball Hog/ Selfish. Thats why they got owned by Orlando!
    Lebron also doesnt have good sportsmanship…so he cries when he loses
    Kobe: 4 NBA Championships
    Lebron: 0
    Kobe:2 NBA Finals MVPs
    LeBron: 0
    Kobe: Best in the west!
    LeBron: Disgrace to the NBA, Basketball & All its Great Players! Comparing himself to all the great players to play the game. Calling himself “Better”

  8. Anonymous - Mar 1, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    Kobe has 1 Finals MVP!!!
    I wish he had more but Shaq has the other 3 MVP’s.

  9. Rich - Mar 6, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Kobe Bryant is not even #2. Durant, Dirk and Howard are all playing better/and are more valuable than him. Lebron is obvious #1… If you switched Lebron and Kobe …Lakers would be pushing for 70 wins and a cert for the championship…The Cavs would be barely pushing 50 wins and about 4th or 5th in the East.

  10. jordan - Mar 12, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    ur very wrong cause if lebron was the best player with the best team how did they not win last year i think thats call choking Mr.Lebron could not bring his team up there thats why kobe is 10 times the player kobe took dwight down just like the cavs could not .

  11. jordan - Mar 12, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    No they would not if he was on the team his stats would go way down cause he would not have to take it to the hole anymore he would just be and aev player kobe brings some thing to the team jump shots lebron cant bring that all he be doing is passing and thats what he should be doing if kobe really wanted MVP dont u think he could get it he has every other award what does lebron have 1 mvp. In the first 6 years that kobe played he already had 2 rings 81 point come there no way the lebrons better then kobe kobe is 30 years old so lebron is faster then him now but if it was kobe year he be done and kobe can do it now KOBE BYRANT IS THE BEST IN THE NBA GET OVER IT 4 RING GOING FOR 5 BABY LEBROS GOING DOWN.

  12. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Mar 14, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    @Will: Interesting points worth pondering on.
    @jordan: Indeed. Kobe took care of business where LeBron has miserably failed. Not only that, LA booted out the Magic in 5 games. Season record doesn’t mean squat except for favorable seeding. A better seed is no guarantee too that it will easily take you to the promised land. Cavs of last year and Mavs of two years ago should know what I mean.

  13. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:20 PM

    I hear you Mike and I do tend to agree with your analysis: it is a team game. Great teammates and chemistry make paths to the promise land whereas one great player can’t do it all by himself.
    One thing though to think about: What if LeBron started his fledgling career with a dominant player like Shaq for a teammate just the way Kobe started?]
    In as much as Kobe would not get those rings without Shaq, I think it works both ways. Remember, Shaq and his Magic were swept clean by Hakeem and the Rockets in Shaq’s and the Magic’s first Finals appearance.
    That being said, LeBron can have the MVP plum every year. What matters is that Kobe and the Lakers get the bling every year for as long as it takes. Hopefully it would be Kobe’s era where the Lakers overtake the Celtics in most number of O’Brien trophies.

  14. tony - Mar 17, 2010 at 10:16 PM

    when you compare two players you are suppose to be comparing the players and not TEAM accomplishments.kobe did not win those 4 rings by himself.if i had 1 choice i would take lebron over kobe because i would want the player who would keep me out of nail bitting last second shots than to have to have a hope and a prayer shot in which kobe is the best at making that last second shot.lebron is the best ALL AROUND player.

  15. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Mar 18, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    I agree.
    If we are talking head-to-head matchups between the two as far as stats are concerned, then yes, give it to LBJ.
    If I were a player, I rather be Robert Horry than Karl Malone. Mind, Horry is a vital cog in all of his teams’ championship runs. You just can’t say he road on the coattails of each teams’ elite players.
    That being said, I rather be Kobe than LeBron.
    Individual accomplishments don’t mean squat unless you deliver your main goal. In this case, taking the trophy home and wearing the bling during half-time break of a game the season after.

  16. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    I beg to disagree that LeBron is a ballhog. He unselfishly creates for his teammates and for this season he has an 8.6 apg. I would hardly classify that as a ballhog. If there’s a point forward, that would be LBJ.
    But yes, I agree that his behavior in sportsmanship has still a lot to be desired.

  17. ChrisVillain - Apr 2, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    LeBron will be the MVP this year, But Bryant is still the Best player
    LeBron is more of an Athelete than a Player IMO he still does’nt have the SKILL imo to be considered a better player than BRYANT….LBJ is all dunks and layups because of his freakish athleticism…His shot has improved but still isn’t reliable, His post up game needs work becuase of his lack of moves and footwork. The TRUE MVP in my opion is niether…I think That Kevin Durant is most Deserving of the MVP he has less to work with than both LBJ and Kobe, and He’s getting it done in the WEST on a team that needs what he gives them every single night.
    But back to LeBron….He is a damned good player, but His statistic have always been Inflated due to the fact that he always has the ball. His Ball domination is the reason e has so many assists per game, the Cleveland offense is basically Lebron win run the play when he passes then you shoot……Taylor made offense for him to have high assist totals…nad he’s a big forward so the Rebs are a given…. That is part of the reason i was never a stat guy because of their tenedency to be inflated depending on your role on the team and the type of offense you play in…..Also LeBron Plays in the EASTERN conference which is the obviously weaker Conference….

  18. ChrisVillain - Apr 2, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    Also a popular Misconception is that LBJ makes players better,…He does not make players better….FANS tend to confuse making players better with giving players open shots…..Basically every player ever paired with LeBron has seen a hit to their productivity…LBJ is what I call an inhibitor. His needing the ball 75% limits his surounding to just catching and shooting, Instead of make them better he makes them one Dimensional in that they do nothing but catch and shoot. He essentialy is the end and be all of play making on the Cavalier team…So yes James is what we call a Ball Hog in that he is not effective as a player without Dominating the ball……He needs to work on becoming a better player without the ball…..Cavs fans wonder why they fall short every year in the Playoffs regardless of their Record, well it’s because James is a ball hog. It’s the reason your offense is so stagnant when he’s Absent from the floor. it’s not Because your players suck, it’s because they play 82 games a year with with one gay making all the plays for them…they are not accustomed to making plays for themselves and others. This why cleveland will choke yet again…Less lebron and More Jamison Williams Shaq etc….Cleveland needs more of a team effort to be etc. Run Lebron off some screens, Make more passes, let other play get more touches and chances to create for leBron and others….I’ve been saying for years that The Cavs need LeBron assists to come down and for the other players around him apg to go up for this team to be truly great because that would be the indicator of a more team oriented offense which in turn makes the team better as a whole

  19. Ted - Apr 11, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Lebron and Kobe have played eachother 14 times. Lebron has won 9 of those and Kobe has won 5.
    Lebron scores more points, averages more assists, averages more rebounds, shoots a higher field goal percentage, shoots a higher three point percentage.
    The guy who drafted Kobe – Jerry West – has said that Lebron is the best player in the NBA.
    People here say that Lebron failed miserable against the Magic in the playoffs yet he averaged 38 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in that series – all better than Kobe’s numbers against the same team.
    Lebron’s team has a better record than the Lakers.
    Lebron’s team has a better record again the Western Conference than the Lakers.
    On an ESPN poll about who is better – 65% voted for Lebron and most of the people who voted for Kobe lived in California.
    Lebron is 2-0 against Kobe this year and Lebron severely outplayed Kobe both times.
    The only argument that Kobe lovers have is “rings” yet that relies on having several good teamates. When Kobe did not have those teamates he lost in the first round in consecutive seasons and tried to get himself traded.
    So if the Cavs win the Championship this season (they are the favorites to win) then will the Kobe fans admit Lebron is better? Because Lebron beats Kobe in each and every imaginable category. Lebron even came in 2nd in defensive player of the year last year and might win it this year.
    So will the Kobe fans admit they were wrong if Lebron wins it this season? I mean, the majority of America already thinks Lebron is better. It’s not really even close, Lebron has the highest PER of any player since Jordan and has by far the highest efficiency rating in the NBA (Kobe isn’t even in the top 5).
    In fact, Lebron’s last two seasons were better than ANY of Kobe’s seasons.

  20. Fred - May 22, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Man Brownsac, I completely agree with you, but with every post, you’re weakening your argument. Kobe is a great player, but Lebron has performed at a much higher level for at least the past three seasons (also, the whole “4 rings” argument doesn’t do it for me at all.)
    Not my point. Your posts are brash, ill-conceived, and generally trollish. Internet forums have such a bad rap because people like you have this attitude that “I’m right and everybody who disagrees is stupid, so I need to crudely berate people anonymously via the internet! Grammar be damned!” It’s childish and idiotic.

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