Gasol maybe the Lakers MVP and not Kobe?

Mike JamesContributor IDecember 10, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  (L-R) Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk on the court during the game against the Chicago Bulls on November 19, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

This could seem like a dumb question to ask. But who is the Lakers MVP? That's actually a good question even tough it seems like the answer is an obvious one.

Well let's examine this closely. If we look at the Lakers prior to Gasol arriving they were a very average team that could not get out of the first round of the playoffs. They were hanging around the eighth spot in the west. Kobe was demanding to be traded with basically the same players other than Gasol.

Now let's take a look at the Memphis Grizzlies. This was a franchise that had done absolutely nothing since coming into the league. They moved from Vancover to get a new identity but it didn't work. The team was still losing and not competing.

Then they draft a kid from Spain a legit 7 footer in 2001 with a polished European game. Gasol goes on to win rookie of the year and establishes himself as a 20-10 guy. It doesn't matter what team you play on it's not easy being a 20-10 guy in the NBA and if you don't believe me make a list of the ones playing now.

After only 2 years after being one of the worst teams in the league their franchise player leads them to the playoffs in the western conference. The Grizzlies reached the playoffs 3 consecutive years under the leadership of Pau and then he was traded to the LA Lakers.

If Pau could lead the Grizzlies to the playoffs 3 years in a row what could he do for the Lakers? Pau's first year with the Lakers he puts up his allstar like numbers close to 20-10 and leads the Lakers to the NBA finals. This is the same Lakers team that couldn't get out of the first round after Shaq's departure.

The first full year with the Lakers Gasol goes on to lead them to a championship. The season starts with Pau out of the lineup with a badly strained hamstring and the Lakers struggle. Pau comes back and they win 10 in a row.

I am starting to get the picture the real MVP of the Lakers is Pau Gasol. Truth be told Kobe Bryant gets way too much credit Gasol is the engine that drives this championship train.

People love Kobe and he is a great one on one player but he couldn't get them out of the first round. It's no difference from Billups going to the Nuggets and providing leadership that helped Carmelo become a better team player. Why will no one admit that Gasol has done the same thing for the Lakers? It's like the elephant in the room.

If you put Kevin Durant on this Lakers team and take Kobe off they still compete for a championship. I could fill in the blank with about 10 different players. Now you tell me who is that teams MVP. There is a reason why Kobe has only won one MVP and it came at Pau's expense.

Remember folks Pau was Pau before he got to the Lakers.