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Kobe Bryant Does Not Deserve To Be In the MVP Race

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers adjusts his protective face mask during the game with the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on March 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.   The Lakers won 115-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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David BarbourContributor IIIMarch 7, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown meant well when he told ESPNLos Angeles that Kobe Bryant deserves to be in the MVP race. No doubt his comments were just a way for him to strengthen the relationship with his superstar player, but that does not change the fact his comments were off the mark.

In no way, shape or form does Bryant deserve to even have his name mentioned in the MVP discussion, unless it is to say that Bryant in no way deserves the MVP award.

Kobe Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring with 28.7 points per game. But he is doing so in such an inefficient manner that it precludes him from being considered the most valuable player on his own team.

Bryant is not leading the NBA in scoring because he is shooting the ball well, but because he is taking a lot of shots. In fact, according to Basketball-Reference.com, Bryant has taken the most field goal attempts this season and it is not even close. Bryant has attempted 903 shots this year, which is 155 more than the second-place player, Kevin Durant.

To put that extreme difference into context, the difference between first and second in field goal attempts is almost as great as the difference between second and 10th in that category (157 FGA).

One would hope that the person who is taking the most shots in the NBA would also lead it in scoring, but Bryant isn't leading the league by scoring by much, despite his enormous advantage in the number of shots he takes every night. He's only .6 points per game ahead of Durant (28.1 points per game), underscoring just how inefficient a scorer Bryant has been.

Bryant is attempting all these shots despite the fact that he currently has the lowest effective field goal percentage (46.7 eFG%) and true shooting percentage (52.7 TS%) of his career. In essence, he is hurting the team with all his field goal attempts more than he is helping them.

His shooting woes are so problematic to his performances that Bryant's offensive rating this season of 104 points produced per 100 possessions is his lowest since his rookie season. Also, his win shares per 48 minutes (.157) are the fifth lowest of his 15-year career and his worst mark in that category since the 2004-05 season.

To suggest that Bryant is worthy of being discussed in the MVP race is ludicrous when one considers just how poor a season he is having compared to other seasons he has had. Besides, his career doesn't feature many MVP-caliber seasons.

While Kobe Bryant is not even measuring up well to his usual production. When you compare him to the players who truly deserve to be discussed as MVP candidates, he looks even worse.

Bryant is not even in the top 20 in win shares per 48 minutes, and he only shows up as 17th in win shares (4.7) because of all the minutes he has played this year.

There is no objective evidence one could use to make the case that Bryant is a possible MVP. Advanced metrics show that while he is still better than the vast majority of NBA players, he is not in the upper echelon of players this season.

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