NBA MVP: 5 Reasons why Kobe's 2007-08 MVP was fully deserved
- Here's debunking the arguments against Kobe winning the 2007-08 MVP trophy.
Kobe Bryant is easily one of the top 5 most polarizing NBA players of all time. There are people who will die on the hill that he's at least the 3rd greatest player of all time, but there are also a sizeable number of people in the faction that he is only a borderline top 20 player who is overrated because of his volume scoring
Among the numerous slights leveled at Kobe Bryant's NBA career, two of the most common are that:
(a) He was never the best player in the league for the entire duration of a season plus the playoffs;
(b) He didn't deserve to win the 2007-08 MVP award but got it because voters wished to give him a 'lifetime achievement' award for once
I'm going to give the idea of refuting notion (a) a hard pass, for nearly everyone saying this is either too young to have seen Kobe in action during his prime years (2000-2009). But notion (b) is both untrue and slanderous to one of the greatest individual seasons of this century, and yet there's a sizeable NBA following which believes in that line of reasoning.
Thus, I'm going to debunk this notion based on the following 5 arguments:
#1 The Lakers were gunning for top seed even before the Pau trade
Before the start of the 2007-08 season, the Los Angeles Lakers' biggest acquisition during the offseason was landing Derek Fisher: their former draft pick and starting point guard during their 3-peat. Other than that, they did not get any talent, instead re-signing Chris Mihm and Luke Walton - rotation players at best.
In the preseason GM survey, the Spurs, Suns and Mavs were heavily favored to win the Western Conference, while the Rockets were picked by one of the participants over the Lakers, who had no talent to pair Kobe with.
And yet, the Lakers had a 35-20 record without Pau Gasol on their roster, and were well and truly hanging with the aforementioned quartet of teams. Kobe had essentially used the addition of a non-bench point guard and a 3rd-year improvement from Bynum to vault the Lakers from first-round fodder into legit contention.
Bynum's knee injury forced the Lakers to find a replacement, which is how the trade for Pau happened. With a fit Bynum, there's a pretty even chance that the Lakers would still have made it to the Finals without Pau.