Monday, May 04, 2009

lebron james IS the mvp:

lebron james won his first mvp award today. it was entirely deserved, and don't let PC or any other kobe lovers tell you otherwise.

consider the supporting casts. let me remind you that the cavaliers start anderson varejao. varejao would not start for the lakers, atlanta, or just about any other nba team. hell, he probably wouldn't play for half of them. varejao is backed up by [a now almost lift-less] ben wallace. mo williams is a solid PG, delonte west is a crafty combo guard. Z-man is a fundamentally sound but creaky old center (who can only play 20 min/ game). the rest of the squad is nba refuse. i'll grant you the lakers are a little weak at the point, but fisher is clutch, farmar and brown are solid, and that failing is nothing compared to the cav's paper thin frontcourt.

consider how the teams would fair if lebron and kobe switched places. just imagine if lebron was running the floor with gasol and odom on the wings. is there any doubt that the lebron-led lakers would win 70+ games? seriously. meanwhile, the kobe-led cavs would probably be about like the kobe-led lakers before the gasol trade: unlikely to get out of the first round.

i conceed that kobe does perhaps have the better "skill set". he's a better shooter, and probably a slightly better defender (don't let the lebron shot-blocking highlights/hype fool you too much; bron's gotten way better on D, but still isn't great on the ball. josh smith gets a lot of blocks too). i think kobe might win a game of 1 on 1 between the two. but that's not what the game is about.

there is simply no doubt that lebron is the more valuable player, that he dominates games more. lebron is a way better passer, better off the dribble, better finishing at the basket [than kobe ever was], better rebounder, runs the floor better, and commands more attention [more open looks for teammates]... most importantly he clearly makes those around him better players. kobe still fails that test, always has and always will.


ps- congrats to the hometown hawks for pulling out a gritty/ugly series against miami. here's hoping they can take a game or two off of bron bron and co.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't respond to Mr. Huevos fellating of Lebron. Have somewhat mixed feelings about being the torch bearer for Kobe, but having watched (no exaggeration) most or all of 80 laker games this year I feel I'm up to the task. A few points:

Lebron is the MVP for two reasons: A. Kobe didn't have to be 'the man' every second of every game and B. At age 30, with 13 NBA seasons under his belt, coming off an NBA finals/Olympics run he NEEDED to not be the man and play 45 minutes per game for six months. Assuming Lebron has passed Kobe on some 'dominance' scale it is merely a function of those two facts. If you think that Lebron is going to improve year to year into his early 30s look at the injury histories of McGrady, Garnett, etc. The fact that Kobe is not on the physical scrap heap is a miracle in and of itself. Second, if you don't need to dominate for 6 months of games, and if that leaves you with more energy to say, drop 40 on the best individual defender in the league in a huge playoff game, then why not do it?

So while the general assertion is correct, there are three specific points on which I disagree with his assessment of Lebron.
1. The lakers would not have won more games with him--The reason they lost as many games as they did are 1. Missing bynum for 30 games, farmar for 20 and the total loss of the mojo of both 2. it's damn difficult to keep 12 millionaires totally focused on anything for six months and 3. the lakers play in the (still) tougher western conference.

2. Kobe clearly makes his teammates better--part of the reason he was less dominant was that he would spend entire quarters or halves doing nothing but setting up teammates. When you've turned trevor ariza and luke walton into three point threats (three pointers that are almost always wide open, by the way) it's hard to say you are not making people better. Even gasol, who I love, has gone from good to great on the lakers.

3. Kobe commands as much attention as anyone in the league--how much more attention can you get the the opponent's best defender every night and double teams any time you are inside twenty feet? The only limit on the attention he draws is the knowledge that he is a very good (but not great) passer.

So congrats to lebron. He is awesome and has taken the torch. On the other hand, Kobe is, at the close of this decade, the best player of the last ten years. There is no 'perhaps' about his skill set, he is the best one on one player since jordan and has the most skilled perimeter game of any player in our lifetime.

pc

5/07/2009 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to add, that 40 footer Lebron hit last night was pretty unbelievable, and also it is clear that Lebron is bigger stronger and faster than Kobe (or anyone, for that matter).

pc

5/08/2009 10:40 AM  
Blogger Huevos McGringo said...

PC, your assessment is fair. but a few points i would dispute:

1. the fact that kobe "needed" to not be the man every game in order to rest up for the postseason is part of why lebron is the mvp. bron was clearly the man every night [and he had to be] while leading the cavs to a league best record.

2. gasol hasn't necessarily gotten better. he was great before. he's a top ten post player in the league, has been for a while, and is way better than any of lebron's supporting cast. odom probably is as well (though he versus mo williams is debatable).

3. i still feel like the lakers would have won more with lebron. lebron's size and passing is perfectly suited to playing on the wing in the triangle offense.

4. you didn't dispute my claim about a kobe led cavs team. that's because you know i'm right. a kobe lead cavs squad would have been a three seed at best in the [admittedly less deep] eastern conference.

5. lebron draws even more attention than kobe, and is in fact himself a "great" passer.

5/09/2009 6:49 PM  
Blogger Ahab said...

None other than Jerry West has come out and said Lebron is the best player now and "he has a chance to be arguably the greatest player ever to play the game."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4178437

5/19/2009 12:58 PM  

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