I know there has been an interesting discussion about the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the 2007-08 season. Let me cast my vote -- I love Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets.
Think about the value to his team. New Orleans turned things around and finished as the #2 seed in the highly-competitive Western Conference and one of the keys was Paul. It is not only his scoring and penetration ability, but his leadership.
Then look at the numbers. Paul led the NBA in assists with 11.6 per contest. He averaged 21 points per game and was the only NBA player in the 20-ppg, 10-apg club. Paul also had 56 double-doubles, second in the league behind Dwight Howard of Orlando.
I certainly respect anybody who would make a case for Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. His team won the Western Conference and he had a phenomenal year. Kobe also has that great name recognition which is why he will probably win it.
I feel that when you break it down and look what Paul has meant to the Hornets franchise, that makes a difference in this situation.
People remind you when you are wrong with predictions, and they never point out when you are right. I remember a few years ago on draft day saying the Atlanta Hawks were making a major mistake by passing on Paul and going with Marvin Williams as its choice in the No. 2 slot. I went ballistic because Paul was unbelievable on the college level at Wake Forest. He was always a special player and a leader, and even though the Hawks have Mike Bibby now, imagine if Paul was with the young talent in Atlanta? That franchise would have made noise a lot sooner than this season.
Paul gets my nod over Kobe in a close call for NBA MVP.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.