Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen Weighs in on the Best Player DebateWhile the issue of who should win the MVP makes for interesting water cooler discussion, those who watch the NBA closely and analytically know that there is no doubt who the league's best player is: Kobe Bryant. Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen writes:
"We ask that question all the time," says an NBA advance scout. "When a bunch of us (scouts) are together, we say, 'Who is the best player in the league?' The answer is always Kobe. 'If you needed one basket, who would you want to have shoot it?' Kobe.
'If you needed to make one defensive stop, who would you want?' Kobe.
'If I was starting a team, he's the guy I would build around. He's the best player in the league, there's no question.'"
When I interview players, ex-players, coaches, scouts and other people who truly understand the game, they say much the same thing. The question of the day/year is not whether Bryant is the best player in the NBA but whether the MVP should go to the best player or if it should go to the best player on the best team. Thomsen adds that Bryant's skills do not make him a slam dunk to win the MVP because that award generally goes to a player from one of the league's best teams. Thomsen also makes a point that I have repeatedly stressed here: "This Lakers team has a 19-year old center in Andrew Bynum and an undrafted D-League point guard in Smush Parker. Also, injuries have sidelined Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Kwame Brown, Vladimir Radmanovic and Chris Mihm for a combined 170 games. Yet they've beaten all of the best in the West. Give Bynum another two years of experience and add a couple of veterans while keeping everyone else healthy, and Bryant will be more than capable of leading the Lakers to a championship."
posted by David Friedman @ 3:59 PM