One long, long month ago, the MVP race was locked up. It was a one-man show, a one-horse race, and Kobe Bryant was the man-horse.
Now I'm beginning to think he's more of a girl-pony.
I know many of you want to kill me for that last sentence, but I want you to know I am as big of a Kobe fan as there is. I bleed purple and gold, okay? I have loved the Lakers through these painful last three years, and even though I had foot surgery that day, I jumped out of my chair when Smush stole the ball from Nash in the waning seconds, and Kobe threw up an off-balance-juke-one-handed-teardrop-floater to send the game into overtime in the '06 playoffs.
(I remained seated when he drained a free-throw line fade-away over defensive-first teamer Shawn Marion to win it. I mean, I saw that coming as soon as he took the inbounds pass. Plus my left foot was covered in blood. Glorious, purple and gold blood.)
So why do I, of all people, believe KB24 won't, and probably shouldn't, win the MVP in 2008? Especially after being overlooked so many deserving seasons? Two reasons: The Lakers are playing like girl-ponies, and CP3 is just too damn good.
Explaining reason one:
Charlotte Bobcats?? Memphis Grizzlies?? OH MY GOD!! Those guys are in the Michael Beasley sweepstakes, they don't even WANT to win! I literally felt sick when I saw those scores, like someone punched me in the jejunum. I know they've been plagued with injuries, but there's a limit. When one game could mean the difference between being the No. 1 seed and not having home court advantage, scrubs like that shouldn't even get within single digits.
And its not just the losses that are adding up—it's Kobe's numbers in the wins. That second game against Golden State where they struggled to pull out a win? Kobe shot more than 10 percent worse than the rest of the team from the field, but decided to take the most shots anyway. If Lamar Odom hadn't gone 70 percent from the floor and grabbed 21 rebounds, it would've been two in a row dropped to the Warriors.
The Wizards game? He shot 29.2 percent on field goals. That's about 30 percent worse than the rest of the team. That's about 30 percent worse than the rest of the team. That's about 30 percent worse than the rest of the team. Emphasis. But he still decided to attempt 24 FGs, which was exactly twice as many shots as the next highest Laker (Derek Fisher, who scored 15 points on 12 FGAs), and more than double the shots of Vlad-Rad, who scored 18 points on only 11 shots.
Sure, he got 13 assists, but he should have sacrificed 10 of those shots for another 10 assists and just blown out the Wiz, instead of having to beat a weak Eastern team in overtime. Speaking of making assists over taking shots...
Chris Paul, otherwise known as Reason Two.
Wow. Simply wow. Everyone on planet Earth simply fawned over Steve Nash four years ago when he joined the Phoenix Suns, and what were his stats during his two MVP years? 17.2 points, 11.0 assists, and 0.9 steals per game. In case you've been under a rock, in outer space, or dead this year, here's CP3's line: 21.5 points, 11.4 assists, and 2.7 steals.
(I'm not listing rebounds because they're point guards, and they both pretty much suck at it.)
Those are some historic numbers. I'm talking never-before-seen numbers. Isiah Thomas never had a season with more than 20 points, 10 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Neither did Magic, Jason Kidd, John Stockton...or anyone, actually. Ever. In NBA history. Not once. And if you think those overall numbers are impressive, check out his numbers post All-Star break:
23.7 points, 12.5 assists, and 2.95 steals.
Did your head just explode? Mine did.
And of course there is the small, almost insignificant issue that I wasn't sure I should mention, but aw what the heck, here goes: He's leading a team of also-rans who were projected to miss the playoffs into first place in the most competitive conference in NBA history. Yeah, I dunno—I just think its cool, I guess.
So given all of the above—and I admit this article was very biased, and mentioned none of the amazing things Kobe has done this year—Chris Paul is the MVP. And if you think either KG (not even the best player on his team), or LeBron (Fight for that fourth seed in the east! Fight for it!) are the MVP, please don't even comment on this post. Your time would better be spent finally getting that G.E.D., working on your fry-serving skills, mastering an automatic car, or just shooting yourself in the face to prevent any chance of you reproducing, thereby making humanity a fitter, better people.
As for arguments for Kobe, I'm all ears. (Please convince me he'll win. Please.)