LA Lakers: Why Coach Mike Brown Thinks Kobe Bryant Is the Obvious MVP

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LA Lakers: Why Coach Mike Brown Thinks Kobe Bryant Is the Obvious MVP
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Despite his team coming off of back-to-back losses to the Pistons and Wizards, Mike Brown is ready to keep talking Kobe Bryant and MVP awards. 

Why all the "KB4MVP" talk? Because if Kevin Love is in the conversation, Brown wants to ensure his guy is near the top of the conversation. Seriously.

From ESPN LA's Ramona Shelburne (via Iamagm), Brown had some interesting quotes about the reasoning behind his MVP push for his star player:

He definitely should be involved in the MVP talks. I think it's hilarious that he's not. You talk about everything new in a shortened season and everybody saying he's 85 years old or whatever they're saying and he's leading the league in scoring.

Bryant is not just leading the league in scoring; he's doing it in a shortened season with a schedule from hell while battling injury and playing in his 16th NBA season. No one can deny Bryant's work ethic or the work he puts in each offseason to be able to play at the level that he does each night. 

Brown elaborated on why he has been so impressed with Bryant's season:

It's everything. I mean, who plays with the injuries that he's played with? Who puts up the numbers that he puts up? Who goes through the amount of changes that have happened to his team in the shortened season? Nobody. Name one person that has played with the injuries and done what he's done in the history of the game. Not in the last four years or three years, in the history of the game.

When Bryant went down with a torn ligament in his wrist during the preseason, I don't think anyone could have predicted that he would be the league's leading scorer 39 games in. What's more impressive is that he hasn't missed a single game this year. 

While Bulls forward Luol Deng—after tearing a ligament—is contemplating (understandably) resting for a few games because of the pain from his own ailing wrist, Bryant has played through the pain, refusing to use it as an excuse on bad shooting nights.

When he broke his nose and suffered a concussion as a result of Dwyane Wade's hard All-Star Game foul, he still didn't miss a beat.

He is tough as nails. No one is trying to dispute that.

Brown has always been known to openly praise his superstars. We all saw it from his days in Cleveland with LeBron James. That's why it was interesting to see how he compared what Bryant is doing this season to what James did in his MVP seasons in Cleveland:

You talk about two major injuries that this guy [Bryant] has had, that he's playing through, that would've sidelined guys for multiple games, if not most of the season or the whole season. Then you're talking about LeBron at 24 or 25 when people think he should be running and jumping and playing 47 minutes a game.

Brown continued:

There are a lot of different circumstances that Kobe is dealing with that LeBron did not have to deal with when we were together. For me that's what makes this year, knock on wood, so far a very special year for a guy like Kobe Bryant.

It is pretty crazy when you stop and consider that Bryant is doing all of this at 33. During All-Star Weekend, he was filmed in the locker room prior to the game talking about his first All-Star memories. It was a bit of a reality check to hear him say he shared a locker room with Mitch Richmond, Karl Malone and Vin Baker that year.

Comments like that serve as a reminder of just how much older Bryant is than the rest of the league's superstars. 

No one can judge Bryant's passion for the game that he plays, nor can they knock his willingness to do whatever he can to extend his playing days. 

One thing that stood out from the article was Brown calling Bryant efficient.

He's efficient with it. He has this team sitting in a pretty good position. And I truly believe this team, with a guy like that, can be very dangerous come playoff time. There's no doubt in my mind that Kobe Bryant should be mentioned in the MVP talk.

Bryant has been a lot of things this season, but efficient isn't one of them. Averaging 24 field goal attempts per game, Bryant is shooting 43 percent from the floor and just 28 percent from beyond the arc.

Of course, this is partially related to the injuries, but Bryant's shot selection hasn't been the finest this year. Of the many ways to describe and praise Bryant's game, the term "efficient" would be closer to the bottom than the top. Still, it's nice to see a coach back his player so strongly.

Shelburne writes that the Bryant MVP talk came up because Brown had been watching ESPN commentators talk about Kevin Love being in the MVP race because he had the Timberwolves at .500.

That's nice timing, with the Lakers taking on the Wolves in Minnesota this evening. Kobe will be hungry for a win, but will he also be eager for a statement game? 

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