Kobe Bryant is (in one of the earliest looks at season awards on the web) currently not in the running for League MVP. Now that I have your attention (and a lot of people ready to send me hate mail), let me explain. At this early stage of the season, Kobe Bryant has led the Lakers to a solid (and somewhat surprising) 5-3 start…but led might be too strong. All Kobe has done this year is make the Lakers average (or a net 0).
At this stage of the season, when Kobe is on the floor, the Lakers are scoring at 1.01 points per possession on offense, and giving up the same number on defense – a net neutral. Yet, as a team, the Lakers are scoring 1.04 ppp and allowing 1.01 ppp…because they are playing better offensively with him off the court. While several Lakers have had better net effects on the team, Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum top the list, at on/off court differences in net efficiency at +0.13 and +0.19, respectively.
Am I endorsing Andrew Bynum (or Jordan Farmar) for MVP? No, far from it (despite a tremendous stretch of defense in the fourth quarter against Detroit last night by Farmar that got the Lakers back in that game). I just wanted to make the point that Kobe Bryant is not working with a group of D-Leaguers in LA and that some players impact the game in ways that some fans might not notice immediately.
All of the numbers I used in this post came from the Stats Page, which now lets you look at some numbers for each player on every team in the league (and more to come soon – I am working on it day by day). Take a look it, look up your favorite player, and find the numbers to support your belief the coach is a moron and should be playing “Player X” more (or you might find out why he is not). Either way, use it and let me know what you think, and what you want to see added next, on the Chat Page.
And please do not send me hate-mail – I fully expect Kobe to be involved in the MVP discussion at the end of the season and readily acknowledge he is one of the premier players in the NBA.
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