Kobe Bryant on why he has only one MVP: ‘Because the media votes on it’

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Kevin Durant wants players, not the media, to vote on NBA awards.

He might have an ally in Kobe Bryant.

Why has Kobe won only one MVP award?

Kobe on The Grantland Basketball Hour:

Because the media votes on it.

It was never a mission of mine to win a lot of MVPs. It was to win a lot of championships.

With that being said, does it bother me? Yeah, it bothers me. Of course it bothers me.

Here’s a history of Kobe’s ranking in MVP voting:

  • 2013: Fifth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul
  • 2012: Fourth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul
  • 2011: Fourth behind Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and LeBron James
  • 2010: Third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant
  • 2009: Second behind LeBron James
  • 2008: Won MVP
  • 2007: Third behind Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash
  • 2006: Fourth behind Steve Nash, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
  • 2004: Fifth behind Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jermaine O’Neal and Peja Stojakovic
  • 2003: Third behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett
  • 2002: Fifth behind Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady
  • 2001: Ninth behind Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Karl Malone and Jason Kidd
  • 2001: 12th behind Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd

If there were any year Kobe could claim he was robbed, it’s 2006, when he averaged 35.4 points per game. That was a crowded and fairly even MVP race, and Kobe had as strong a case as several players.

But the biggest reason Kobe won only one MVP: That’s, give or take, how many he deserved. Really, he might not have deserved any.

Just because Kobe was never the clear-cut best player in the league in a single season – and voted the best only once – does not detract from his greatness. His greatness comes from being a top-five(ish) player for a very long time. That’s different than rising to higher peaks and falling to lower valleys, but it’s no less worthy of admiration.

The MVP – an award that covers only one regular season at a time – has limited value in measuring all-time greatness. It doesn’t cover the playoffs or multiple seasons, two factors that work in Kobe’s favor.

Maybe players voting rather than the media would have gotten Kobe another MVP. He’s well-respected among his peers, especially the younger generation.

But, if anything, I’d say the media has overrated Kobe in MVP voting, particularly in more-recent seasons. So, the media isn’t necessarily to blame for Kobe’s lack of multiple MVPs.

The No. 1 factor: Kobe’s lack of a regular season clearly better than everyone else in the league that year. That’s OK, though. One MVP is more than Kobe needs to warrant status as an all-time great.

Lakers, 76ers reportedly interested in trade for Derrick Rose

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Derrick Rose‘s renaissance has come to the point this season he is in the running for Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 18.3 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game (before Monday’s game against the Wizards).

The Pistons are in the mix for a playoff spot in the East — three games back of the eighth-seed Nets, who are finally getting healthy — but with Blake Griffin out for the season they are expected to be sellers at the deadline. That means Rose, a guy who could help a number of contending teams.

The Lakers and 76ers are among those interested, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and multiple teams with championship aspirations have expressed interest in trading for Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

The Lakers and Sixers are in search of point guard assistance for the stretch run, sources said.

The Lakers need a second playmaker as their offense falls by 9.8 points per 100 possessions when LeBron James is off the court. To make the deal work, the Lakers would have to dangle Kyle Kuzma plus someone to fill the salary (Avery Bradley would work but that would cost Los Angeles another starter; DeMarcus Cousins and Quinn Cook works, too, but why would the Pistons want them?). The Lakers are limited in picks they can send out after the haul they sent to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis deal.

The 76ers need a playmaking point guard to go next to Ben Simmons at points, ideally one who can stretch the floor (Rose is shooting just 31.8 percent from three). The Sixers would likely dangle Zhaire Smith and maybe Mike Scott to make the salaries work.

Expect the Pistons to listen to offers up to the deadline, playing teams off each other to get the best possible deal. But Rose may well be on the move before Feb. 6.

Chris Paul scores 28, leads Thunder rally to hand Rockets fourth straight loss

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HOUSTON (AP) — Chris Paul scored 28 points and Danilo Gallinari added 25 as the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat cold-shooting James Harden and the Houston Rockets 112-107 on Monday.

Paul scored 27 of his 28 points in the first half against his former team. Gallinari and Dennis Schroder, who scored 17 of his 23 points after halftime, carried the Thunder after the break.

Former Thunder player Russell Westbrook had 32 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for Houston. Harden had 29 points but was astonishingly inefficient, making 1 of 17 3-point attempts, as the Rockets’ losing streak stretched to a season-high four games.

Oklahoma City used a 6-0 run, highlighted by a dunk from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after he stole the ball from Harden, to put the Thunder up 108-105 with about a minute left.

Harden made a layup for Houston to cut the lead to one, but Schroder made a jump shot with 28 seconds remaining to make it 110-107. Russell Westbrook missed a 3-pointer on the other end and Gilgeous-Alexander added two free throws to secure the victory.

Houston had a 15-point lead before the Thunder scored 13 straight points to get within 100-98 with 4 1/2 minutes to go. Gallinari led the way for Oklahoma City in that stretch, making two 3-pointers and adding three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

Harden made one of two free throws after that but Gallinari struck again seconds later with another 3 that tied it at 101-all. Gilgeous-Alexander then made one of two free throws to give the Thunder their first lead since the first quarter.

Westbrook made Houston’s first field goal in more than four minutes with a layup with just more than three minutes left. He then added another layup after a steal seconds later to give the Rockets a 105-102 lead with about two minutes to go.

The Thunder trailed by 16 points after three quarters, but a 9-2 run, with five points from Schroder, got them within 91-82 with about 9 1/2 minutes left.

Houston trailed by as many as 10 in the first half but led by seven at halftime and used a 9-3 run to open the third quarter and push it to 73-60. P.J. Tucker had a 3-pointer in that stretch and Westbrook added four points.

Houston scored the last four points in a third quarter where Oklahoma City scored just 14 points to make it 87-71 entering the fourth.

 

J.J. Redick: Players more concerned with Instagram than winning

J.J. Redick
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J.J. Redick transformed himself from bust to NBA success.

He changed his habits and outlook. He worked hard and learned how to optimize his fit. That partially explains why the Pelicans signed the veteran last summer.

Why aren’t more players so diligent in their work?

Redick on “The JJ Redick Podcast With Tommy Alter“:

There’s just too much stuff going on. There’s too many people in your ear. There’s not enough time in the day, probably, for some guys. They’ve got Fortnight to go to. They’ve got to worry about getting a fit off for pregame. This is an issue. I really believe this. I think there’s more guys concerned with getting a pregame fit on Instagram than they are worrying about the win and loss of a basketball game. I stand by that statement.

Maybe some players are more concerned with Instagram than winning. That’s tough to evaluate from afar. I’m not sure Redick – who’s obviously not in anyone’s mind but his own – is close enough to make that evaluation, though he obviously has more access to see how NBA players act.

But players have always held interests outside basketball. They always will. Redick doesn’t need to look far to consider that. This quote comes from his podcast.

That Redick gripes about this modern technology – Fortnight, Instagram – makes him sound like an old grump. Why not rail against players who party too much? There are surely players who indulge in that classic distraction.

Not every player is obsessed primarily with winning. Yet, I’m unconvinced that’s any more or less true now than with a prior generation.

Anthony Davis returning for Lakers-Celtics

Anthony Davis
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Anthony Davis‘ father said he didn’t want his son playing for the Celtics, given how they treated Isaiah Thomas. Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, tried to dissuade Boston from trading for the star big.

For someone who neither played for the Celtics nor in a playoff series against them, Davis has generated plenty of animosity in Boston.

But nobody can accuse Davis of ducking the Celtics.

After missing the last five games due to a butt injury, Davis will return for the Lakers’ game in Boston today.

Mike Trudell of the Lakers:

Davis has jumped headfirst into playing playing for the Lakers and everything that comes with it. Playing in Boston – given Los Angeles’ rivalry with the Celtics, given his personal history with them – is entering the eye of the storm.

Should be fun.

Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown will also return for the Celtics.

Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston: