Although Kobe Bryant is considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all-time, he only has one regular season MVP award. With that being said, it is not out of the question that Kobe could claim his second Maurice Podoloff Trophy this season.
The MVP race is as wide open as ever, and there are many reasons why Kobe could be the MVP come this spring.
Since winning the last two championships, Kobe has seemed to improve his relationship with members of the media. Who knows, maybe his icy relationship with media members has cost him MVP votes in the past?
Don't expect this to be the case with an aging Kobe.
If the voting took place today, I believe both Rondo and Howard would receive MVP votes. However, both players have glaring flaws that will keep them from winning the award.
Dwight Howard is clearly Orlando's best player, but his inability to create his own offense consistently will prevent him from winning the MVP award.
Rondo has trouble knocking down open jumpers and free throws. Plus, it is arguable that Rondo is not even the Celtics' most valuable player.
I absolutely believe Kobe when he says championships mean more to him than individual awards, but deep down I imagine Kobe would love to take home another MVP award.
If for nothing else, it will cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all-time and silence critics who say he is getting too old.
If the season ended today, Chris Paul could very easily win the MVP award, due to the resurgence of the Hornets. After their blazing start, the Hornets have cooled down, losing seven of their last 10 games.
Unfortunately for CP3, MVPs are not chosen from middle-of-the-pack teams.
Voters may feel inclined to cast their vote for Kobe as the MVP for not only his superior play, but the looming possibility of the team three-peating. Three-peats are nearly impossible these days, in any sport.
It would make sense for the best player on a possible three-peat team to take home the MVP, right?
The preseason favorite to win the MVP award was Kevin Durant. However, the Thunder are not doing quite as well as people expected.
As good as Durant is, it would be hard to justify giving him the award unless the Thunder finish with the top record in the conference.
Even if Miami ends up finishing with the top seed in the East, I don't see how voters will be able to justify giving the award to one player over the other.
Before the season started, there were articles written about Pau Gasol emerging as the Lakers' best player this season. While Pau is just as valuable as any other player on the team, Kobe is still Mr. Laker.
Pau is experiencing early-season fatigue from playing too many minutes. This has left Kobe to carry the Lakers early in the season.
If the end of the season rolls around, and there is still no clear-cut favorite for the award, voters may give Kobe the benefit of the doubt, especially if the Lakers have the top record in the Western Conference.
Seeing as Kobe is reaching the twilight of his career, voters may feel like this is his real last chance at winning the award.
With injuries to Andrew Bynum and Theo Ratliff, Pau Gasol has been forced to play big minutes early in the season. It is only December and Gasol is already showing signs of fatigue from the heavy minutes.
This could mean Kobe will be in position to go on a tear and lead the Lakers down the stretch heading into the postseason. If Kobe is able to lead the Lakers to the best overall record in the West, he will get plenty of MVP consideration.