Maurice Podoloff Trophy: Kobe Bryant's Out, Who's In?

Rodge CorreaSenior Analyst IMay 7, 2008

With Kobe Bryant barely being scratched off the "Best-player-who-hasn't-won-a-most-valuable-player-title" list, a new question arises: Who soars to the top?

Many come to mind...many very much stack up! A resounding number appears. However, there are only a few players who truly have the right to speak or be spoken about concerning the most prestigious trophy behind, of course, the big, gold ball.

Dominant, consistent power forwards, relentless passing machines, and unblockable shots are just a few of the characteristics that sum up the plays or elements of their games that were recognized but never trophy-worthy.

Or were they?

The bottom-line is the players in the same era were just better. True greats that go by names like Jordan, Johnson, Bird, Kareem, Russell, unfortunately prevented a tall, white Los Angelite or a short, black Detroit bad-boy from ever winning the award. Sad, yes, but true.

So...The following article will be of the most objective nature on who is actually the top candidate to receive the people's choice award. Not my favorite!

List of the NBA greats who never  claimed the personal title:

Jerry West, Clyde Drexler, Isaiah Thomas, George Mikan, Elvin Hayes, Elgin Baylor, John Havlicek, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, Dominique Wilkens, Artis Gilmore (the only player on my list not to be in the NBA Hall of Fame)

All  the players above are trophy-worthy, but there are only three players that I believe a feud or dispute could come into play over who receives the top honors:

1) Jerry West: Career average of 27 points per game over 14 seasons, 1969 finals MVP (the only time a losing player has won!), Olympic gold medal, NBA championship, and Hall of Fame honors. There are more, but you get the picture.

2)  Isaiah Thomas: Averaged 9.3 assists per game and 19.2 points per game for his career, won  two Championships and Finals MVPs.

3)  Clyde Drexler: NBA Champion, Olympic Gold Medal winner, and Hall of Famer.

* John Stockton was very close from shoving Clyde off the list!

The question is not if these players were the most valuable for their team, because every player placed above was, but rather, would the success of the franchise shift drastically if they had not been there?

And the result is, yes, but never to the certain extent of the players that go by the numbers of  23, 33, or 32. The players that go by those numbers were the core and the reason why their teams became dynasties! The players above weren't.
What's your two cents?