Wednesday , Apr , 09 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Why Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul Have Emerged As Top MVP Candidates

All season, the MVP debate has raged like paparazzi fighting for pictures of Hollywood ‘celebs’ in rehab. With the regular season winding down, Bryant and Paul have apparently moved ahead of Garnett and James. In other years, The Big Ticket and The King’s season would win MVP honours, ensuring an awkward ceremony with commissioner Stern handing out the hardware. After all, Garnett has resurrected the Celtics, while James, for most of the year, has carried his Cavaliers …

Why Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul Have Emerged As Top MVP CandidatesThe L.A. Times’ reports that Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul have emerged as leading candidates for MVP:

Over the weekend, I asked 21 NBA writers from 19 cities and two websites for their first, second and third MVP picks for this season, and the result was… Too close to call. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, named by all 21, had 10 first-place votes, eight seconds and three thirds. New Orleans’ Chris Paul, named by all 21, had 8-9-4.Boston’s Kevin Garnett was a distant third, named on 15 ballots with 2-3-10.

The Very Quick AM Take: All season, the MVP debate has raged like paparazzi fighting for pictures of Hollywood ‘celebs’ in rehab. With the regular season winding down, Bryant and Paul have apparently moved ahead of Garnett and James.

In other years, The Big Ticket and The King’s season would win MVP honours, ensuring an awkward halftime ceremony with commissioner Stern handing out the hardware. After all, Garnett has resurrected the Celtics, while James, for most of the year, has carried his Cavaliers.

Not this year. Bryant and Paul have surfaced as the top candidates. Here’s why:

  • Bryant’s less-is-more approach is resonating with the media, who vote on the winner. After years of paying dues and bad press, there’s a feeling now is his time.
  • Paul is the new kid on the block. Literally. In one season, he’s gone from being a very good player to the world’s best table-setter (averaging about 22 points, 11 assists, and close to 3 steals per night). In fact, some analysts see Paul winning MIP (most improved player) and MVP (most valuable player).

  •  Bryant and Paul battle in the highly competitive Western Conference. Nights off don’t exist. Every game factors into home-court advantage and playoff seeding. Conversely, Garnett and James play in the Eastern Conference, where they feast on weaker talent and opponents.  
  • Analysts overlook how Garnett has changed Boston’s culture and point to the Celtics 8-2 record without him. Cleveland, after acquiring Ben Wallace, Delonte West, and Wally Szczerbiak at the trade deadline, have struggled, which hurts James’ case. 

Bryant or Paul will win MVP. And the next few nights should determine the winner.

Are Bryant and Paul the top candidates? Get at us in the comment box below below with your thoughts. Image appears courtesy of photogrpaher Tim DD at flickr.com