Settling the MVP Debate: Kobe vs. LeBron

Nick PlumCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2008

Everyone seems dead set on Kobe being the MVP this year. He's the best player on arguably the best team in the league (Boston still holds the best record though). He puts up great numbers and is the main reason the Lakers are where they are.

But let's discuss what the MVP is supposed to be. Does the acronym not stand for Most Valuable Player? So that means it should go to the player that is most valuable to his team. Not the best player on the best team.

So yes, that means Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki should not have been the two most recent MVP winners. If it weren't for Kobe, the Lakers would have been a lottery team the past two seasons. There's no doubt he carried that team. That's clearly evidenced by the string of 50 point games he had last season, and the fact that he averaged 33.5 points per game the past two seasons.

So with that argument, LeBron is this year's MVP. He is his team's Most Valuable Player. Without him, they literally cannot win. The Cavaliers went 0-5 when LeBron went down with that ankle injury.

If you take LeBron from his team, here would be the likely starting lineup: Delonte West, Devin Brown, Wally Szczerbiak, Ben Wallace, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Can anyone honestly say that team would be even close to a contender, even in the Eastern conference?

Now, if you take Kobe away from his team, this would be the likely starting lineup (when healthy): Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum.  That team may not be a title contender, but it's still certainly better than Cavaliers without LeBron.

If you want to look at it from a statistical perspective, LeBron still beats Kobe in almost every aspect.

Points: LeBron has the advantage 30.8 to 28.1.

Rebounds: Lebron has the advantage 8.1 to 6.1.

Assists: 7.4 to 5.3. They are equal in steals at two per game. LeBron averages twice as many blocks as Kobe, 1.0 to 0.5.

FG Percentage: LeBron once again has the advantage, 48.5 percent to 46.4 percent. 

3P Percentage: 35.4 percent to 31.3 percent. Kobe finally gains an advantage here. 

FT Percentage: 84.4 percent to 71.6 percent. Another advantage Kobe. So, from a statistical standpoint, LeBron holds the advantage, 4-2 with one tie.

Don't forget that LeBron is the league leader in fourth quarter points, while Kobe is around third or fourth. And, LeBron's team has the most fourth quarter comebacks with 15.

So for those of you who say Kobe deserves MVP due to being the best player on the best team, remember what the award really stands for. Who's more valuable to his team, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?