Kobe Bryant's Leadership Won't Trump LeBron James' Talent in NBA MVP Race

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts as he is fouled in front of Goran Dragic #3 of the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
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When taking a look at the MVP race, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is the runaway favorite, and after the season he's had, it's well deserving.

But there are other candidates out there who can make a case for themselves, including Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Kobe's had an outstanding 2012 season, one in which he averaged 27.9 PPG and showed tremendous leadership in leading an under-maned Lakers team to the Pacific Division title. But as good as a season as Bryant had in 2012, he has nothing on his resume that could potentially trump LeBron in the MVP race.

That's no knock on Kobe, it's just that LeBron was that good this season and deserves to win the MVP for the third time.

Bryant lead a team that didn't have a point guard for most of the season, had no depth and shot the ball poorly from the perimeter. He did it banged up, playing through multiple injuries, but nothing stopped Kobe and the Lakers this season.

Yet he still has to take a back seat to LeBron when the MVP award is discussed.

The thing about LeBron's talent is that it can't be measured by statistics, yet he posted some pretty good one's in averaging  27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals and shooting 53 percent from the floor and 36 percent from the three-point line.

LeBron led the Heat to a very good regular season and his talent and production suggests that he should be the runaway winner of the MVP award.

While Kobe had a very good regular season, he didn't shoot the ball particularly well, only shooting .430 from the floor, the worst shooting season he's had since his rookie campaign. Bryant also struggled from the perimeter, knocking down only .303, the third-worst season he's had from behind the arc during his 16-year career.

While both have had their moments of dominance during the 2012 regular season, you have to look at the entire body of work, and that clearly favors James, who was able to produce in every category across the board while leading his team to a good season.

You can't say the same for Kobe, who really only has the scoring numbers to compete against LeBron. His 4.6 assists per game was his third-lowest total since the 1998-99 season, and his 5.4 rebounds was his third-lowest total since 1999-00.

You can't take anything away from the season Kobe had, but when you discuss the 2012 MVP award, his resume really doesn't stack up against the talents of LeBron.