Setting the Record Straight: Adande's MVP Analysis Deeply Flawed

Nate SmithCorrespondent IFebruary 29, 2008

J.A. Adande is usually a reasonable sports journalist. I say journalist because he usually has views that are well researched and backed by reason.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with L.A.'s sports media, their objectivity flies out the window when Kobe Bryant is the subject.

Let's be clear: It is okay to think LeBron James is the MVP. It is okay to think Chris Paul is the MVP. It is even okay, though a bit looney, to think Kevin Garnett is the MVP.

What isn't okay is using erroneous information to sell one candidate over another.

Last week, Adande was asked "Who's the MVP?" He responded that he thought LeBron was the MVP because the Cavs were 0-6 without him and that Kobe Bryant went 3-5 after Bynum went down with injury and before Gasol started playing for the Lakers.

Okay fine, I thought. Adande just made a mistake. No big deal.

Today I decide to attend his chat, confident that he'd make amends to all the fans he misled. Here's what went down:

In this chat, Adande said, "Right now, Kobe vs. LeBron is shaping up as the MVP race, but we shouldn't leave out Chris Paul, KG, or even Deron Williams.

For now, I'm going with LeBron, although he's slipped a bit with these last couple of losses. The Cavs are 0-6 without him and are playing .600 ball with him."

"But the story of the Lakers' first half of the season was the improvement of Andrew Bynum. The story of the second half has been the acquisition of Gasol.

"After Bynum went down and before they got Gasol, the Lakers were 3-5. That says something."

I'm not making this up. That's what he wrote.

As Mark Jackson would say, "Come on, J.A., you're better than that."

First, Lebron's team went 0-6 during one of the roughest stretches of their schedule. Their losses included Detroit, Toronto, and a healthy Washington team at that time.

When Washington is healthy, they are pretty good. They beat Boston in two consecutive games. Each of these teams were playoff contenders and over .500. Thus, Lebron was injured during one of the most difficult stretches of their schedule.

The Cavs other losses while Lebron was injured were against the New Jersey Nets in December, the Charlotte Bobcats a couple days later and the Seattle Sonics on January 31st. 

Okay, New Jeresey, Charlotte and Seattle aren't very good and it is unacceptable that they lost to those teams even without LeBron.

But consider this: The Cavs lost to New Jersey without Lebron on December 4th and then lost to New Jersey WITH Lebron just a week later.

The Seattle game that the Cavs lost without LeBron came on the second night of a back to back. If J.A. would have taken the time to analyze the Cavs' losses in context, he would find that the only head-scratcher was their loss to Charlotte.

Probably the most egregious error is that J.A. keeps saying that the Lakers went 3-5 after Bynum went down and before Gasol.  

That simply it isn't true. The Lakers went 6-5 without Gasol in the lineup. That's good for a 54% win record without Bynum and Gasol.

But that only tells half the story. The Lakers losses in that stretch were to Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Cleveland, and Detroit.

In case J.A. didn't realize, all those losses were against contending teams. The Bynum-and-Gasol-less, Kobe-led Lakers beat the snot out of teams that Lebron regularly faces in the Eastern Conference: Wins against New York, Toronto, and Washington were all by double digits.

It is quite baffling that J.A. would hold losses to the likes of Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, and Detroit against Kobe Bryant without Andrew Bynum or Gasol when the Cavs have lost to each of these teams with LeBron in the lineup.

If J.A. would've continued to put his comments into context, he would've found that the Cavs haven't always done so well against the teams Kobe beat without Bynum and Gasol.

The Cavs have the distinct honor of being beat by 18 by the Knicks at MSG with LeBron in the lineup. LeBron's Cavs got swept in the season series against Denver.

And just for the record, here's Kobe's statistical line without Bynum and Gasol: 34 points, 5 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game.

The point is, J.A.'s reasoning is not only erroneous for the second consecutive week, it is deeply flawed.

If you look at the games in context, Kobe's record without Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol is actually more impressive than LeBron's record with his Cavs if adjusted for strength of schedule.

Of course, it may be asking too much for MVP voters like J.A. Adande to take the nuances and complexity of the schedule into account when making arguments, but one can only hope.