Why No L.A. Lakers Superstar Is a Realistic Contender for 2012-13 MVP

The four star Los Angeles Lakers players leading the way this season have their share of accolades. Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant have three MVP awards between them. Dwight Howard has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards. The three of them combine for 15 All-NBA First Team nods.

But that combined hardware doesn't lead a single member of the cast to win an MVP award this season.

If anything, the combination of these greats diminishes the chances that one of them will win the MVP award.

Each player has an aspect to his game that offsets part of what at least one of the other players does. Kobe likes to hold the ball and control the offense. However, Nash has closely controlled the offenses he's run, as shown by his top-three finishes in assist percentage in each of the last nine years.

Also, Kobe has piled up points to push his case in MVP races. However, his shot attempts will be reduced by the number of shots that Howard and Pau Gasol will take as Nash distributes the ball a little more evenly.

Kobe could still find a way to accumulate shot attempts and points by playing outside the system, as he always has done. That would take away from Howard's chances, diminishing his shot at an MVP in that respect.

Howard has partly built his greatness with his defensive prowess. He blocks numerous shots, controls the boards and generally shuts down the inside. If he's to be a legitimate MVP candidate, he'll have to make up for the deficiencies of the defense-challenged Nash and the shortfalls of two declining defensive stoppers in Metta World Peace and Kobe.

Howard will have a hard time stopping players inside with teammates on the perimeter playing leaky defense. He might be called "Superman," but even the best defensive players in the league look human when trying to make up for the shortcomings of others.

Gasol, who has been a staunch defender throughout his career, cou...

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