Four Corners: A quarter of the way in, who is the NBA's MVP?

Usual suspects on list (Kobe, Dwyane, Carmelo, LeBron), but 1 stands tall

December 22, 2009

Signed, sealed, delivered
Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Can it be anyone other than Kobe "Nine Fingers" Bryant? The best player on the best team. Case closed. Already, Bryant has the season's signature moment with his off-balance 3-pointer against Dwyane Wade and the Heat.

Otherwise, you have Carmelo Anthony, who has had some of his best performances in losses, taking the word "valuable" somewhat out of the equation. Then there's LeBron James, who is struggling under the weight of having to carry Shaquille O'Neal. It could be argued that Puppet LeBron has been more impressive than Actual LeBron.

As for Wade? He already has said the scoring title has become a been-there, done-that experience. Also in position to make moves are Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Joe Johnson, based on their teams' finishes.

iwinderman@tribune.com

No catching Bryant
Brian Schmitz

Orlando Sentinel

Is this a trick question? Even those clueless people Jay Leno finds to interview on the street know that Kobe's the MVP.

The better question: Who's second? It's a long way. You'd have to make two connections and a layover before you get to LeBron or D-Wade.

Kobe has tried to add some suspense, playing with a broken finger, and it's still not close. He could score 20 in a body cast.

All he has done is make this season's Lakers better than last season's title team ... hit a couple game-winning shots ... score at will ... keep Ron Artest from becoming a reality show ... and allow Phil Jackson to remain in his orthopedic highchair.

We have a BCS title game, a Super Bowl and a Final Four to play, and the race is over. Kobe doesn't blow these kinds of leads.

bschmitz@tribune.com

Kobe's value is sky-high
K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

Kobe Bryant is the NBA's MVP, MVC and MVW. He's the most valuable player, competitor and winner - even if he breaks nine more fingers.

Beyond Bryant's spectacular scoring ability and still-dominant defense, his will wears down opponents and emboldens teammates.

Funny how Pau Gasol no longer is considered soft now that he's Bryant's super sidekick.

Bryant still can score in bunches when he wants or needs to. But his recent game-winner against the Bucks proves yet again why he's the league's most valuable player:

He wins.

kcjohnson@tribune.com

Best choice is obvious
Lisa Dillman

Los Angeles Times

What hasn't Kobe Bryant done in the first quarter of the season? If there is a glaring, missing link, we can't think of it.

He has played hurt and sick - of course, he always has been able to do that; the worse he seems, the better he plays. And the Lakers (22-4) were without Pau Gasol for the first nine games and still sit atop the NBA.

On top of it, Bryant has, more or less, tamed Ron Artest. (We can revisit that last, miraculous feat in April).

The intangibles favor Bryant as the league's MVP at the quarter mark, and so do the hard numbers. He's shooting better than 48 percent and averaging 28.9 points, ahead of his MVP pace of 2007-08.

As a colleague put it best: Best player on the best team. Best way to end an argument.

ldillman@tribune.com

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