The NBA MVP 2008 is Kobe Bryant and I'm going to explain why.
Everyone keeps saying Paul has a worse supporting cast than the Lakers and that the Hornets would be worse without Paul than the Lakers without Bryant.
Remember, Andrew Bynum has been out most of the season and so has Pau Gasol. Tyson Chandler and David West have been healthy all season and put up a player efficiency rating (PER) that is higher than Lamar Odom's this season. In fact, David West last year had a higher PER than Lamar Odom THIS season. Clearly, Paul has had the superior supporting cast for most of the season. More on this later.
And please stop saying Paul is the only reason his supporting cast is any good.
David West had the exact same PER that he has this season in 2005-06. And look at his stats last season. They are nearly identical to what he's doing this year.
Peja was only a frontrunner for league MVP a couple years back.
And Tyson Chandler's main contribution is rebounding - something Paul presumably doesn't help him do.
So people who are saying the Lakers without Kobe would be better than the Hornet's without Paul need a reality check.
The Lakers lineup without Kobe would look like this for most of the season: Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf.
The Hornets would look like this for most of the season: Pargo, Mo Pete, Peja, David West, Tyson Chandler.
Anyone who says the Lakers are better are mistaken. Remember Pau Gasol has not played for the Lakers most of the season and neither has Andrew Bynum.
Now let's look at why Kobe is clearly the MVP.
The Lakers are 1 1/2 games back of New Orleans (1st place).
The Lakers are only one game worse at home than New Orleans.
The Lakers are one game worse on the road than New Orleans.
The Lakers have a better division record and they have a better record against the Western Conference.
The Lakers have a larger margin of victory than the Hornets.
I think any reasonable person would look at the results of all this and conclude
that the Hornets and Lakers are roughly a similar quality team.
BUT: Pau Gasol has been a Laker for 31 games. That means he's been on the roster for about 41% of the Lakers season so far (31/75). He's missed 12 games. The 10th starting at New Orleans and ending with Washington, and he's missed two games where he was a Laker but hadn't been acclimated to the system (Toronto,
Washington), so he's missed 12 of those 31 games or 39% of the games he's been a Laker.
So look at that. Pau Gasol has been a Laker for over 40% of the Lakers' season,
but has missed over a third of the games he has been on the roster.
Andrew Bynum has been on the roster all year. He has played 35 games this
season. That means he has missed 40 games!
He has missed 53.3% of the season!
The Lakers have played 20 games without either Bynum or Gasol in the lineup.
That's 26% of the Lakers season! To put in perspective, that's over a quarter
of the Lakers' NBA season with almost no frontline.
Now look at the Hornets:
David West has played in 68 of 74 games. That means he's played in 92% of New
Orleans' games so far.
Tyson Chandler has played in 71 of 74 games. That means he's played in 96% of
New Orleans' games.
Peja has played in 69 of the 74 games. That means he's played in 93.2% of New
That would be enough to put the Lakers injury situation into context versus New
Orleans, BUT WAIT, there's more.
Peja missed games on 12/9, 12/12, 12/15, 12/17, 12/19
Tyson missed games on 11/21, 2/6, 2/9
West missed games on 1/5, 3/5, 3/7, 3/8, 3/16, 3/17
What is interesting here is that of Paul's top 3 supporting players, NONE OF THEM
EVER missed a game on the same day. Not once. It happened to Kobe for over a quarter of the Lakers' season (20/75). It NEVER happened to Paul.
Yet the Lakers are only 1 1/2 games back from first in the West.
That's not a very healthy margin over the Lakers considering the injury
But let's go a little bit deeper and look at the games Kobe has played without
Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum.
First, it is important to note that 11 of the 20 games were on the road and 15
of the 20 opponents were above .500.
The Lakers played Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, San Antonio (rd), Dallas (rd),
Cleveland, New York, Detroit(rd), Toronto(rd), Washington(rd), Houston (Rd),
Dallas (Rd), Utah (Rd), Seattle(rd), Golden State (X2, 1rd) Washington,
Memphis, Charlotte without Bynum or Gasol. The Lakers went 10-10 (including the
loss to the Hornets which doesn't matter for this comparison) on this schedule
without Bynum or Gasol.
Let's look at Paul's record with these games:
Seattle (rd, hm) - W, W
Phoenix - W
Denver - W
San Antonio 2/23 (rd) - L
Dallas 12/14(rd) - L
Cleveland - W
New York - W
Detroit (rd) - L
Toronto (rd) - W
Washington (Rd, Hm) - L, L
Houston (rd) - L
Utah 2/4 (rd) - L
Dallas (rd) - (haven't played Dallas for a second time on the road yet)
Golden State - W, L
Charlotte - W
The exact same games Paul went 2 games over .500.
He was 10-8 with a healthy Hornets squad.
So Paul with a healthy Hornets squad goes only 2 games over .500 while the Lakers
managed to go .500 WITHOUT Gasol or Bynum against the same exact teams.
Isn't that the very definition of doing more with less that defines a MVP?