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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James Win February Player of the Month Awards

The much anticipated LeBron James-Kobe Bryant NBA Finals showdown may never materialize but the NBA's best player and the NBA's five-time Lord of the Rings are both performing at a very high level. James led the Miami Heat to a 12-1 record in February while averaging 29.7 ppg (first in the league during the month) on .641 field goal shooting (tied for the league lead during the month) and contributing 7.8 apg, a team-high 7.5 rpg and 1.9 spg. He set an NBA record by scoring at least 30 points and shooting at least .600 from the field in six straight games. James has won 24 Eastern Conference Player of the Month awards, including all four this season and seven of the last nine overall. James is without question the 2012-13 NBA MVP, despite attempts by some media members to drum up interest in other candidates; Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and perhaps one or two other players are operating at an MVP-caliber level but no one has been as dominant, productive and efficient as James.

Bryant is playing some of the best and most efficient basketball of his career as he tries to lift the injury-battered and often listless L.A. Lakers into playoff contention; the Lakers went 9-4 in February as Bryant led the team in scoring (23.9 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg) while also averaging 6.7 rpg. He has scored at least 30 points in a game 24 times this season, tied with Durant for the NBA lead in that category. This is the 17th time that Bryant has won the Player of the Month award. He earned his first such honor in December 2000, the last season when the league selected just one Player of the Month; starting with the 2001-02 season, the NBA chose a Player of the Month for each conference.

Bryant has indicated that he might retire when his contract expires after next season but Kevin Ding eloquently asked Bryant to reconsider:

Game 1,440 was not unlike the others.

The Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night. Counting the playoffs, it was Kobe Bryant's 1,440th NBA game.

And Bryant was great again.

Not just pretty good. Not just flashes of greatness.

Great.

Still great.

Artfully, inspirationally, intensely, winningly great.

So great...and yet not particularly greater than he was in Dallas a few days back, or the game before that with 29 after halftime to beat Portland, or when he twice had 14 assists in back-to-back victories over Utah and Oklahoma City in late January, or the time his fanatical prep work and relentless chasing left Brandon Jennings certain no one in the history of the game had ever defended a point guard that well (and also had 31 on 12-of-19 shooting and six assists), or all of December with Bryant's 33.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists across the board higher than he has averaged in any month in any year of his career.

The Lakers' day-to-day struggles have obscured the work of art that Bryant has erected over the past four months with those bent and battered fingers and his usual common-man tools of hard work, fundamentals, dedication and desire...

Retirement should not even be on Kobe Bryant's radar.

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posted by David Friedman @ 6:41 AM

10 comments

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10 Comments:

At Saturday, March 02, 2013 10:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt LeBron is mvp. And yes, the media trys to hype up other players for consideration.
Tony Parker you can say is the Spurs best player and they have the best record in the nba also. Maybe he does deserve a little consideration for mvp, but then again not much reguardless of Spurs record.
I look at Parker as a borderline superstar player. Between all star calibur and superstar. I dont really see him as a mvp calibur like LeBron, Kobe, Durant. He just happens to be the best player on a great spurs team.
IT reminds me back in the 2005-2006 season how some people were talking for Billups as mvp. Pistons had best record in the league at end of season. But billups was not really a mvo calibir player, he was just probably the best player on the pistons team with the leagues best record.

As for Kobe, whenever he decides to retire he should go out as elite. Meaning still being an all nba first tesm calibir player, still an elite player, still the alpha male. Currently he is still in this position. So maybe he'll play for two more seasons. Thats how he should go out.
Dont hang around to long when hes no longer elite, debateable, wether he should be selected as an all star, and taking a backseat to a younger upcoming player

 
At Saturday, March 02, 2013 2:56:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

The Parker/Billups comparison is very apt.

I don't think that Kobe will play past the point when he is an elite player but, then again, I didn't think that Jordan would do so and yet he came back as a very good--but not elite--Wizard.

 
At Saturday, March 02, 2013 5:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Kobe can be an elite for at least two more seasons after this current season. He obviously could play for like five more. I just think some former superstar/franchise players just stay around too long. I dont expect them to retire a superstar, but maybe retire still somewhat productive.

Whoever thought a guy like Hakeem olajuwon would at times be a backup to someone like Calcin cato or Eric montross i believe.


As for LeBron I think he may end up with at least five regulwr season.mvps. That would be amazing. Think about it, Kobe only has one mvp, shaq only had received one. SO if Bron wins at least five.i believe only jordan and.kareem have that.many.

 
At Saturday, March 02, 2013 5:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lost interest in the MVP award now it's nothing more than a popularity contest this day and age. It's been shaping into that for a while because of players over the years who've done exactly what LeBron is doing, playing high caliber basketball but never got it because either their team didn't have the best NBA record or they were playing with too many superstars. I say let the kids have at that award now. I'm worried about titles and championships which is what they all play for.

 
At Saturday, March 02, 2013 5:36:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

Kareem holds the record with six regular season MVPs, while Russell and Jordan each won five. Wilt Chamberlain won four and Dr. J won four in the ABA/NBA combined.

LeBron has a chance to match or even break Kareem's record if he stays healthy; he should get his fourth MVP this season and he really should have five MVPs because he was the best player in 2011 when Rose won the MVP in the wake of the backlash from the "Decision."

 
At Saturday, March 02, 2013 5:38:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

I understand your point about the MVP award but it is an important honor and every year I always hope that it goes to the best player, not the best player on the team with the best record or the player who is the flavor of the year because the voters are "tired" of voting for the actual best player.

 
At Sunday, March 03, 2013 10:57:00 AM, Anonymous Nathan said...

I don't know how anyone could respect an award whose voters are the media. We've all seen how stupid many of those guys are, how their own obscure agendas color their so-called "analysis". If the coaches were the voters, even if you disagreed with their choice, you could at least respect the process.

 
At Sunday, March 03, 2013 3:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the mvp voting may be a popularity contest at times. At times they select a worthy candidate.

Nash got two mvps. I dont think he deserved both. Including his mvp seasons I never considered Nash to be a top five player in the league. Probably not even top ten. he got those mvps because he was having such a good year. Big difference between being elite and having the so called best year of all of the players.

People have different criteria for mvp.
Some people felt Kobe was worthy of mvp in 2006 and 2007. Without him those teams dont make olayoffs. But its not likely a player can get the award if his team is a sixth or seventh seed.
You look at when LeBron won mvp in 2009 and 2010. His team had a great record both years of 60 plus wins. But without LeBron those teams would clearly be a bottom team in the league. So his teams overachieved in my opinion.

James could possibly break Jabbar's record for mvps. But there are always other worthy candidates next to the best player in the world in any era.

Speaking of mvps, I think its a shame Shaq only won one mvp. He definitely should have won 4-5. He was the most dominant player for a long stretch of his career. I think the league slept on him, but I also think he has to shoulder blame also.

 
At Tuesday, March 05, 2013 10:06:00 AM, Anonymous DanielSong39 said...

I don't pay attention to MVP voting and give it little weight in considering a player's merits. With that said, Lebron is hands down the best player in the league and guys like Durant and Kobe are a tier below him. Unless Lebron gets hurt the Heat will be odds-on to go back-to-back.

As for Kobe I hope he goes out with a championship next season, then sign for the minimum and comes back as the best sixth man in the league. If the Lakers can strike jackpot in free agency and re-sign Howard, they can win a few more.

And Lebron? If he comes to the Lakers he might win 10 championships by the time it's all said and done. Keeping my fingers crossed...

 
At Wednesday, March 06, 2013 2:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miami is definately the favorite to win the title.

As for the Lakers, it's real easy to point at injuries as for their record this season. But I think they should eventually trade Gasol. I think he's declining and he is getting too mich money. Maybe they could hit the jackpot in free agency. They definately need to resign Howard. If Kobe was to retire after next season or the year after, Howard is there to be the face of the franchise with injury avoided.

 

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