With all the hype going on about Kobe Bryant, the Lakers, and the season they are having, I'm sure Kobe is going to win his first MVP award.
But, he doesn't deserve it.
Well, let me check that, he does deserve it, but there's someone else who deserves it more.
That someone else goes by the name of Chris Paul. The 6-foot tall point guard from the New Orleans Hornets. The best player in basketball right now.
Anybody who disagrees with that comment hasn't watched him play.
Nobody can guard him. He is too quick with the ball. He is one of the fastest men in the NBA and one of the fastest with the ball in his hands. He makes great decisions and precise passes, shoots the ball well, makes his teammates better, runs the offense, improvises when needed, and does everything else asked of him.
All the media is talking about what Kobe has done for the Lakers and how he has turned them into winners. But Andrew Bynum stepping up early in the year and Pau Gasol being "traded" to the Lakers has turned the Lakers into winners. Chris Paul has made the Hornets winners all by himself.
When Bynum started stepping up everyone started saying how Kobe Bryant made him a good player. If Kobe made Bynum a good player, why wasn't playing this way last season? Or the year before that?
It isn't Kobe Bryant lashing out on him that made Bynum a better player. It's his third season in the league and he has started to understand how to play.
I didn't hear anything about Kobe working with him during the offseason, trying to help him learn the triangle offense. I didn't hear about late-night phone conversations with Kobe boosting his confidence. I heard about how Kobe hated playing with him and wanted out.
Please, let's get it right about what Kobe Bryant is. He is an outstanding basketball player—one of the best ever to play this game—but he is not the reason for the Lakers turnaround. That distinction goes to Bynum and Gasol.
There is no doubt that the Lakers wouldn't be where they are without Kobe, but the same can be said for Bynum and Gasol. If those two hadn't been on the team this season, the Lakers would be a No. 6 seed at best.
Chris Paul is a leader. He is the reason the Hornets are what they are. The man turned David West into a star. He turned Tyson Chandler into a force. He turned Peja Stojakovic into the threat he used to be.
He is the driving force that has turned the Hornets into a winning basketball team. A team that nobody wants to play. A team that can win on any given night because of what Chris Paul can do with the basketball.
Everyone talks about the year the Lakers are having, but how about the Hornets? They sit on top of the heavyweight Western Conference, one game ahead of Kobe's Lakers. This is the same team that won 39 games last year and finished 10th in the Western Conference. The reason they only won 39 games last year had to do mostly with Chris Paul being injured at the end of the season.
How valuable does he appear now?
If you are a fan of stats and base your decision on them (which a lot of voters do), well then how can you not pick Chris Paul? I will throw the line at you.
21.6 points/game (tied 15th), 3.9 rebounds/game (8th among guards), 11.4 assists/game (League leader), 2.7 steals/game (League leader), 49.4% FG% (4th among guards), 85.5% FT% (17th), and even shoots 37% from beyond the arc (57th—respectable)
Who has had a season like that?
The man has had 15 games this season where he had 15+ assists. He has had 45 double-doubles so far. He has had eight games with five-plus steals.
Not to mention that he has been a man possessed the last 15 games, averaging 24.5 points, 13.6 assists, 2.9 steals, shooting 54 percent from the field, knocking down 48 percent of his threes, and only 2.4 turnovers a game. Not to mention he has lead his team to a 12-3 record, beating the likes of Phoenix, Utah, San Antonio, the Lakers, Houston, Boston, and Cleveland last night on a beautiful drive-and-dish from Chris Paul to David West, who hit the game-winner with less than a second remaining.
I want to reiterate that the MVP award has something to do with statistics and something to do with how valuable a player is to his team.
Nobody is more valuable to his team than Chris Paul is to his New Orleans Hornets. Not LeBron James (who should be a close second in MVP voting, based on his 31-8-7 averages, alone). Not Tim Duncan. Not Steve Nash. And not Kobe Bryant.
I know Kobe is going to win the award this year because he is out in Los Angeles in one of the biggest media-centered areas. If Chris Paul were playing in LA or New York, or even Chicago, he would be getting much more attention, which is saying something.
Kobe winning the award is akin to the saying, "He's getting that call because he's (fill in name—Kobe, LeBron, Duncan, etc)." I won't get started on that crap because that's a whole other article! The media already chose their MVP early in the season when all the hype was swirling around the Lakers and their return to the top of the Western Conference elite.
It's a shame that Chris Paul isn't getting a fair shot. He deserves the MVP award this season.