Feb 11, 2010, 12:03 PM EDT
Kobe 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.