Lakers Coach Mike Brown feels Kobe Bryant should be considered a league… (Carlos Osorio / Associated…)
Reporting from Auburn Hills, Mich. — Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in scoring and has fought through injuries without missing a game.
Should he be the league MVP?
There are still seven weeks left in the regular season, but Lakers Coach Mike Brown sure thinks so, running with a question about it for quite a while Tuesday before his team's 88-85 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons.
"I think he definitely should be involved in MVP talks. I think it's hilarious that he's not," Brown said. "You talk about everything new in a shortened season and everybody saying he's 85 years old, or whatever they're saying, and he's leading the league in scoring. He's efficient with it, he has this team sitting in a pretty good position. There's no doubt in my mind that Kobe Bryant should be mentioned in the MVP talk. I'm baffled that he's not."
The front-runners are Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant and Miami forward LeBron James. Chicago guard Derrick Rose was the league most valuable player last season but has had foot and back issues this season and has missed 10 games.
Bryant is averaging 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists this season. He is shooting with 44% accuracy.
He sustained a torn ligament in his right wrist during the exhibition season, then suffered a broken nose, concussion and soft-tissue damage in his neck after a hard foul by Miami guard Dwyane Wade in the All-Star game.
The more Brown talked about Bryant not being mentioned in the MVP race, the more he got worked up.
"My TV was on ESPN as I was heading out, and I don't know who said it, but they said [Minnesota forward] Kevin Love because he has the team at .500," Brown said. "Now, Kevin Love's a very good basketball player and he's putting up extraordinary numbers, but if you're going to say Kevin Love is . . . in the top five, Kobe Bryant needs to be in the top two."
Bryant won the MVP award in 2008 after averaging 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He shot 45.9% that season.
Earlier this season, when the Lakers were stuck in the middle of the Western Conference, Bryant barely stood a chance at winning the award.
Only once in the last 30 years has an NBA most valuable player come from a team that didn't finish in the top three in its conference. Moses Malone won it for Houston in 1982 on a team that tied for fourth in the West.
Bryant was docked $40,000 by the NBA for skipping media and charity sessions at the All-Star game, according to a person familiar with the situation who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss it.
He didn't know about it until a reporter told him after Tuesday's game. "Oh, really? That's news to me. I guess you're not allowed to be sick," he said.
Wonder whom the networks want to see in the NBA Finals?
ABC said its Sunday broadcast of Miami-Lakers was the network's most-viewed ever for a non-Christmas regular-season NBA game.
The broadcast averaged 7.03 million viewers and a 4.3 rating. The game received a 13.9 rating in Miami and a 9.6 in Los Angeles.