Man, what a day of basketball yesterday, huh? I mean, Christmas basketball is always sweet, but we had the stars out for show. There were some nail-biting games, most of them being playoff(or Final)-previews. We had everything from a game where one team only scored 30 points in each half, to a buzzer-beating three to win the game, to last year’s NBA Finals matchup.
I got to thinking during the Lakers-Celtics game, and starting writing down some notes about the MVP of the league this year. I got to see a good portion of the candidates last night: Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, DAwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire, Shaq?, LeBron James, Brandon Roy. Although most of the candidates were there some did not have a game yesterday… namely, Dwayne Wade who could be a main contender till the end.
Those are the possibilities for MVP this season, unless someone rises from the mist. It is going to be another close race; there is not one clear-cut winner. Last year it was a two-man race with CP3 and Kobe. However, we will be lucky to see that this year. Different from last year, we are going to see likely a four-man race. The front-runners in my mind are Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, Kobe, and LeBron James. Don’t get me wrong, there very well could be a guy that ups his game and gets in the mix because we aren’t even midway, but I see it as these are the guys to beat. If you want me to break it down even more for you, I will. I, personally, think that this season’s race will come down to two men… the two best players in the world. Kobe vs. LeBron.
There was an interview with Kobe and Magic Johnson last night, and I found something very interesting in it. The magic Johnson asked Bryant when he was going to be ready to hand the torch off to LeBron as being the face of the league and best player. He noted that Larry Bird and he handed it down to Michael Jordan. MJ then gave it to Kobe. They were wondering when the time would come and we would see the Kobe-to-LeBron exchange. Well, if you ask me, when LeBron 1) wins the MVP award or 2) wins the Championship (likely same season)… that basically means that LeBron is the main man. Whether Kobe is ready or not. When one of those two things happens, that means that Kobe is forced to pass the torch, in my opinion. By the way, Kobe said that he will pass it on when he retires. It’s going to be earlier than that my friend. To view the entire interview, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzvVhV8frY8.
Back to the MVP discussion. One thing that I have always kept in mind when awarding a player is what the abbreviations stand for. MOST **VALUABLE** PLAYER. Keyword is “valuable”. It is not POY, Player of the Year. That means, stats do not mean much. It means it is not what a player does for himself and the box score, but what he does for his respective team. I think the phrase “team players” needs to be brought into the debate. What a player does to make the team better. A player’s team may suck but he averages 35 points. Well in that case, I don’t think he should even be in the race.
There has been people that think the MVP should go to the most valuable player of the team that wins the entire thing. Crazy or not, I don’t think that’s a half-baked idea.
Which team, in your mind, would be more screwed with out their star? Miami Heat? No, they have Marion and Beasley. Los Angeles? Nah, they have an entire team full of gunners (Gasol, Odom, etc). Well what about the Cleveland Cavs? Umm... let’s think… Who else do they have? Well… nobody. BINGO.
LeBron James is all that the Cavaliers have, and without him would they be anywhere? Without Kobe and Dwayne, their teams can still compete. Cleveland cannot compete without LeBron. He is the most valuable player, to his team, in the league.
James is tearing the league up; he looks like he is back in high school to be honest. He is averaging 27 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per. Those are, without a doubt, the best overall numbers his career has seen. But the big stat, that less and less people look at, is the 22-4. 22-4 and right behind the Boston Celtics. In the past, LeBron has been amazing but his team fizzles. This is the best group he has been with and he is playing at his prime. Well, I shouldn’t say that… Is there more in the tank? Have we seen his best?
‘Bron deserves it not just because of individual performance, but because of leadership. He is a team player; he is the most valuable player. Savor it Kobe, because the time is nearing.
As always, I urge you to leave your thoughts on this post in the comment section below. I really appreciate your responses.
www.collegesports-fans.com Mizzou/SLU Correspondent