Monday's question: Who is the NBA MVP so far this season?
Reporters from the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they are wrong.
Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Can it be anyone other than Kobe "Nine Fingers" Bryant? The best player on the best team. Case closed. Already, Bryant has had the league's signature moment, with his off-balance 3-pointer on national television against Dwyane Wade and the Heat. Otherwise, you have Carmelo Anthony, who has had some of his best performances in losses, which takes the word "valuable" somewhat out of the equation. Then there's LeBron, who not only is struggling under the weight of having to carry Shaq, but it could be argued lately that Puppet LeBron has been more impressive than Actual LeBron. As for Dwyane Wade? He already has said the scoring title has become a been-there, done-that experience. Otherwise, still in position to make moves are Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Joe Johnson, based on their teams' finishes.
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, well, we can't think of it.
Already, he's played hurt and sick – of course, he’s always 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 of the season and still sit atop the NBA this morning
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 of the sport. He's shooting better than 48 percent and averaging 28.9 points, ahead of his MVP pace of 2008.
As my colleague, the day-in, day-out chronicler of Kobe, put it best: Best player on the best team.
Best way to end an argument.
Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel
Aw, come on. Is this a trick question?
Even those clueless people that Jay Leno finds to interview on the street know this one. They might not know the capital of California, but they all know that Kobe's the MVP.
The better question: Who's second? It's a long, long way to second. You'd have to make two connections and a lay-over before you get to LeBron or D-Wade.
In fact, the Orlando precinct would like to take a break from its Tiger Beat to declare this MVP race over --- before Christmas.
Lakers fans, whenever they get to Staples, are the only fans who can look up from their text-messaging and rightfully chant, "MVP! MVP!"
Kobe has even tried to add some suspense to it, playing with a broken finger. And it's still not close. He could score 20 in a body cast.
Let's see. All Kobe has done is make this season's Lakers better than last season's champion Lakers. . . . hit a couple game-winning shots. . .. score at will. . .. kept Ron Artest from becoming a reality show.... and allowed Phil Jackson and his balky back to mostly remain in his orthopedic high-chair.
Kobe's made short work of a ridiculously long NBA season. We still have a BCS title game, a Super Bowl and a Final Four to play (and who knows how many more Tiger mistresses to go)... and the MVP race is over.
Kobe's a great closer. He doesn't blow these kinds of leads.