3.16.2008

Gasoless Bryant Loses Three of Four

KG was the MVP front runner until he got injured and the Celtics went 7-2 during the games he missed. After he came back, suddenly it was as if Garnett had fallen off the face of the earth as far as the MVP discussion was concerned.

The new front runners were LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul.

Bryant was thought to be the sentimental choice, since he had yet to win an MVP over his long career. Forget the fact that maybe he didn't deserve one earlier in his career when Shaq was the most dominant player on the planet. Also please ignore that the MVP award is not a lifetime achievement award. All of this bugs the hell out of me. But for now I'll go with it.

Then we move to LeBron. Wow, that dude can fill it up. Forty points here. Fifty points there. The LeBron-as-MVP talk stopped, of course, when the Cavs went on their current two-game losing streak and the King stunk up the joint against the Wizards.

This brings us to Chris Paul, a great player on a good team. Does he deserve to be in the discussion? Perhaps. Without Paul, the Hornets aren't even a .500 team. With him, they are in the hunt for the best record in the West. If the Hornets end up with the best record in the West, he should easily vault ahead of Bryant and James in the MVP race.

Which leaves us with KG.

The case for KG as MVP is well known, if underappreciated. He is the best player on the team with the best record in the NBA. The Celtics have had the league's best record the entire season, and are likely to make it a wire-to-wire job. Garnet is the fuel in his team's tank, and the quarterback of their league-leading defense. KG intimidates opponents, get in their heads, and gets his teammates on the same page, locked and loaded, and ready to play.

Despite what I said about Paul, I have little doubt that Bryant remains the MVP favorite. This puzzles me for a couple of reasons. Before the Lakers acquired Gasol, the Lakers were somewhere near the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. The Celtics had humiliated the purple twice in head-to-head match-ups.

The Lakers then acquire Gasol, go on a rampage against mostly lesser opponents, lose Gasol to injury, and promptly lose three of four.

So in the spirit of Bush 41:

Before Gasol: No winning.

With Gasol: Winning begins.

Without Gasol: Losing resumes

Sounds to me like if there is a Laker that should be in the running for MVP, his name is Gasol, not Bryant.

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