Kobe Bryant is again having an incredible season at age 33. He leads the league in scoring, and has led the Lakers to a 36-22 record through Monday April 9. But does he deserve a second Most Valuable Player award for his performances?
The short answer is no, not by a long shot. There are at least three other players, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love who are far more deserving at this point in the season.
Bryant has put up some impressive numbers his 28.1 points-per-game has him on pace to win his third scoring title and he is still a solid and efficient defender. He is averaging 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists a night, which are right on track with his career averages.
All of that is solid, very solid, but you have to do more to win MVP. His efficiency scores are where his candidacy begins to fall apart. Bryant's efficiency (a measure that attempts to quantify a players overall contribution to his team) is just 21.6, good enough for 14th in the league.
Bryant forces too much. His shooting percentage is at its lowest since he was 19 years old, despite his leading the league in shots taken. His three-point shooting has been miserable as well and as of this writing he is below 30 percent from beyond the arc. He is also averaging 3.6 turnovers a game, almost a full turnover more than his career average.
It is unfair to call Kobe a ball-hog; after all he does what he is asked to do in the Lakers system, which is to be the major offensive option. But he and the Lakers could certainly benefit from more sharing. He has All-Star caliber teammates in Pau Gasol and potentially Andrew Bynum who is having a career year despite maturity issues. Both Love in Minnesota and James in Miami do more with less.
Bryant is again having a great season and is still one of the best players in the history of the game when you need a basket late in a game, but his MVP credentials come up short.