Wednesday , Mar , 05 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Phil Jackson Endorses Kobe Bryant for MVP

Maybe the ‘M-V-P’ chants will be backed up by actual hardware this season. Kobe Bryant has never won the NBA most-valuable-player award, 12 seasons into a career that has netted him 10 All-Star appearances, seven All-Defense selections, three championships and two scoring titles. Is this when he adds that other trophy? The Lakers are legitimate contenders in the Western Conference, with Bryant contributing across the board. He is averaging 28.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.0 steals after Tuesday’s game.

He is shooting 46.4%, his best field-goal percentage since 2001-02. Bryant’s scoring is down from his combined average of 33.5 points a game the previous two seasons, but Lakers Coach Phil Jackson stated the platform for Bryant as MVP. ‘He’s playing a more rounded game than perhaps the end of the last two seasons, just measuring what the team needs and how to get it done including his teammates,’ Jackson said. ‘Defensively, his game has improved a lot. He could be defensive player of the year simply on the improvement between last year and this year on his defense.’ Click here for more from the Los Angeles Times.