What Does Kobe Bryant Have to Do to Enter the MVP Conversation?

Despite the "M-V-P" chants that are showered upon him each time he steps to the free-throw line, Kobe Bryant has only captured the coveted hardware one time in his first 16 NBA seasons. 

Bryant currently leads the league in scoring at 30.1 points per game, and is showing that despite his age, his jump shot is still among the most lethal in the NBA.

According to ESPN's Stats and Information department, if Bryant can maintain his current scoring pace, he would reach a historical NBA milestone:

Kobe Bryant is averaging 30 PPG. He would be the 1st player in NBA history to avg 30+ PPG in a season at age 34 or older.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 28, 2012 Despite his impressive scoring, however, Bryant can't seem to fight his way to the top of the list of MVP candidates, a common trend throughout his career.

Bryant captured his only regular season MVP trophy during the 2007-08 season when he led the Lakers to the Western Conference's best record (57-25) and scored 28.3 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting.

In addition, Bryant has finished in the top three of MVP voting five times (2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10), per Basketball-Reference.

One of the big problems is that Bryant is widely viewed as one of the league's elite scorers, but the MVP trophy is typically doled out to players who contribute more than just scoring by volume.

So if scoring isn't enough, what does Kobe need to accomplish over the next four months to enter the MVP conversation?

Making the playoffs (and with a decent seed) would be a nice start, but that burden shouldn't fall solely on Bryant's shoulders.

Statistically, Kobe's numbers this season are falling in line with where they've been throughout his career, with a slight bump in the scoring column.

With a line of 30.1 points, 4.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game, th...

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