NBA: The MVP Will Come out of Los Angeles

A little over halfway through the season, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul are two MVP candidates playing at a high level this season.

Paul is averaging 19.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.2 steals while playing just over 36 minutes per game.

Bryant is averaging a league-leading 28.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals while playing 38 minutes per game.

But their MVP play is more than just statistical greatness. They bring the qualities of leadership and determination both guys display on a consistent basis. They possess the intangible elements that enable their teams to elevate and succeed on a higher level.

Paul and Bryant bring a defensive tenacity, a competitive drive, and an iron will to get the job done under any circumstance. Excuses are not valid—everyone is held accountable.

The main focus for MVP attention has been on LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who are outstanding talents and among the best players in the league. But as great as they are, they may not be the most valuable pieces to their respective squads.

James is an all-around threat blessed with outstanding court vision and passing ability. James is an elite rebounder for the forward position and is an improved defender. The self-proclaimed “King” is basically a stat stuffer—a fantasy owner’s dream who puts up video game numbers. James has an extremely high basketball IQ and generally makes great decisions during the game, (minus a few late game situations).

But if you take James off the roster, you still have a formidable team, especially in the weaker Eastern Conference. With James off the roster, the Miami Heat would not be the favorite to win it all, but they would still finish with one of the better records in the conference and could possibly contend for the title.

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