Why Kobe Bryant Should Give the MVP to Chris Paul

Zander FreundSenior Writer IMay 7, 2008

Hey Kobe—you wanna be a man?

Then own up to what isn't yours and hand Chris Paul that MVP trophy.

You heard me Kobe: Chris Paul is the rightful winner of that award, not you.  And I don't care whether or not you deserved one some other year—my calendar says its 2008, and the Most Valuable Player trophy is supposed to go to the best player in the league the same season it's awarded.

Don't thank your teammates, Phil Jackson, or the league for this honor—thank the writers who convinced themselves halfway through the season that you and you alone deserved the award.

They, after all, are the people who have committed this fraudulent act.  And even though it would have been nice of you to decline the award and offer it to Chris Paul, no one's blaming you for walking off the stage with the Maurice Podoloff Trophy firmly in your grasp.

Honestly, I'm happy for you Kobe.  I really am.  When the Lakers finally surrounded you with some talent, you proved to everyone why you're one of the all-time greats.

You made us eat our words Kobe.  You're clearly a good leader, a team player, and capable of winning without Shaq. 

Your team earned the top playoff spot in one of the most competitive conferences the league has seen in years—and if the current pace continues you'll soon be on your way to a fifth NBA Finals appearance.

And hey—despite sharing the glory with Pau and the gang, you managed to put up some pretty impressive numbers: 28.3 ppg, 6.3 boards, and 5.4 dishes.

But Chris Paul, Kobe...Chris Paul's numbers make your year look like something out of Tractor Traylor's play book.

And I'm not talking about the stud from Michigan who tore down the backboard…I'm talking about the out-of-shape lardass that was traded five times in seven NBA seasons.

Let's go over some basketball basics together Kobe, and perhaps you can see why I'm so angry that you won.

The point guard is the guy who runs the offense.  As such, he tends to handle the ball more than anybody else on the court—including scorers such as yourself.

Believe me Kobe, Chris Paul handled the ball quite frequently this season.  But even though he was running the offense and you were playing the wing, Paul managed to turn the ball over significantly less often than you.

Being so cautious with the ball, you might think that Chris Paul wouldn't have created much on the offensive end of the floor.  But that's simply not the case: this year, Paul became one of the few point guards in league history to average over 20 points and 10 assists per game in a season.

And he did it with fewer turnovers than anyone else in the history of the NBA to accomplish such a feat.

You know Steve Nash, right Kobe?

In his two MVP seasons, Nash averaged 11.5 and 10.5 assists per game, respectively—he turned the ball over more than three times in each of those seasons. 

What about Magic Johnson, Kobe—you remember him?  The best Laker the City of Angels had ever seen until you came to town?

Magic averaged over 20 points and 10 assists in three different seasons, which is simply mind-boggling.  It should come as no surprise that he cleaned up MVP honors in each of those seasons as well.

But in every case, Magic turned the ball over between 3.5 and four times a game.

Chris Paul on the other hand averaged 22.1 points and 11.6 dimes a game this year—with only 2.5 turnovers.

Let's also not forget that Magic and Steve Nash weren't (and aren't) famous for their defensive abilities.  As a defensive phenom yourself, you surely realized that Chris Paul led the NBA in steals per game this season…right?

Here's the bottom line, Kobe: Chris Paul just completed one of the greatest seasons for a point guard in the history of the game. You on the other hand had a very good season for a shooting guard...but by no means revolutionized the position.

Yet somehow, you walked away league MVP.

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Don't like the point guard/off guard comparison?  Fine Kobe, we'll do it straight up:

Chris Paul was a stronger offensive player than you this year.  He shot the ball significantly better from the field (.488 vs. .459) and distributed the rock in ways you can only dream about.

Your defense was more impressive, but not enough so to compensate for the vast performance discrepancy on the other end of the floor.  And while you surely deserve credit for how far you brought the Lakers, Paul singlehandedly turned a sub .500 New Orleans team into a legitimate contender that finds itself leading the four-time World Champion Spurs 2-0 in the second round of the playoffs.

Let's also not forget that Paul is a good seven inches shorter than you.

Reason with me here, Kobe; be a man and give the deserving player the trophy.  It will be an unprecedented action that will permanently alter the way that history looks at you.

If you don't listen to me, I think you're going to lose to the Hornets in the next round.  Because no matter what he says, Chris Paul is pissed about all of this…and if he can't be league MVP, you can bet he's already shifted his focus to the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

These are the times that try men's souls, Kobe—I know you'll do the right thing.