Mailbag: Kobe vs. LeBron
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SECAUCUS, N.J., Nov. 1, 2007 -- After sorting through my normal slew of e-mails, you guys have made one point abundantly clear: If Kobe Bryant and LeBron James swapped uniforms, the Cavaliers still would have advanced to the NBA Finals and the Lakers still would have lost in the first round of the playoffs.

My bad for saying Kobe should be able to take an underwhelming team in the West to the Finals just because LeBron was able to do so in the East.

I get it. Let’s move on.

Anyway, here is a reminder that the preseason rankings were just that – preseason rankings. On Tuesday when the Race to the MVP comes out, the player rankings will be off of games played this week. So if you don’t see LeBron in the Top 20, after his 10-point, scoreless first-half performance on Wednesday, don’t be mad at me. Holla at the King.

Time to respond to some of your e-mails.

Albert in Miami: Why are you leaving Shaquille O’Neal out of the MVP race? He is the most dominant player that the league has right now.

Brooks: Al, how is being a Dolphins fan treating you? Anyway, Shaq is one of my all-time favorites, but the Diesel hasn’t been a legit MVP candidate since Steve Nash stole his trophy in 2005.

Jojo in Detroit: What's up, Mo Brooks? I hope your summer was good, but your boy from D-Town is back with some H-Town love. Why is T-Mac still not getting the respect? He’s 12th on your list to start the season. Come on Maurice, you’re better than that.

Brooks: Hey Jojo, do me and yourself a favor. Don’t ever use that D-Town/H-Town line again. If you read Race to the MVP last season, you know that Tracy McGrady always gets his props. I just think that Yao being healthy for the entire season will hurt McGrady’s value.

Shazad in Colorado: Thank God that you’re back Maurice. I always look forward to your articles, but personally I think Chris Bosh should be higher on your list. The Raptors are going to win the Atlantic Division over the Celtics. Show Bosh some love.

Brooks: Bosh and the Raptors were one of the biggest surprises of the season a year ago. That being said, I can say with complete confidence, Toronto will not win the Atlantic this season. Mark it down.

Matt in Australia: Utah’s Deron Williams should be in the top five. Did you not watch the Playoffs? This is the worst list I have ever seen. I live in Australia and know more about the NBA than you.

Brooks: Matt are we talking top five point guards or players in the MVP race? Deron is a beast. He had his breakout season last year. Still, if you asked him, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even think he deserves to be ranked that high. Not yet.

Justin in Hong Kong: Simply put, this year’s Race to the MVP is going to come down to Kevin Garnett and LeBron James, just like last year it was between Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.

Brooks: The league and I can only hope that the race is half as compelling as it was last year when Nowitzki ended Nash’s two-year reign.

Smenaru in Romania: You again? Why don't you do every NBA fan a favor and take a 10-month holiday to the North Pole. At least we can hope this year that MVP voters look at your articles and aren't influenced by what you write. If you have any decency left, you should be fair this year and try to redeem your sins.

Brooks: I missed you, too. Who knew that accurately picking the winner of the MVP award was such a bad thing?

Bubby in New York: Keep your eye on Stephon Marbury this year. He’s the key to the Knicks’ success. If they do good, he’s the reason.

Brooks: Dude, I have no problem with a fan being a homer, but this is ridiculous.

CJ in Los Angeles: DUDE PLEASE. Your comment about Kobe’s jumper and Bruce Bowen – just watch this clip.

Brooks: OK, you win. There isn’t a defender in the league that can stop KB24.

Baller in Texas: Dirk getting the MVP last year was the right choice. Still, why is he No. 5 in the rankings? My main point is that you wrote about the Nintendo Wii vs. the PS3 in your column. You should have written XBOX 360 vs. PS3. The Wii is completely different than the PS3 in terms of its audience and its games. I love your R2MVP and read it every week. Keep up the great work!

Brooks: Are you saying that because Dirk is the reigning MVP I should have let him start his defense in the alpha male spot? I thought about doing that, especially since no games had been played at the time of the rankings. I don’t think the best-shooting big man in the game today will repeat though. He'll be in the mix but I think it's Garnett's award to win or lose.

And as the owner of a Wii and a PS3, I wasn’t comparing audiences. I was simply writing about what’s hot now. And judging by the amount of run the Wii gets by all of the visitors to my crib, the Wii more than holds its own against its higher priced competitor.

Ecko in Philippines: What are your picks for the all-time greatest starting five? I got, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Do you have the same lineup as me?

Brooks: Not a bad lineup, Ecko. My lineup would be Magic at the point, Michael at the two, Charles Barkley at small forward, Wilt Chamberlain at power forward and Russell at the five. So basically, it comes down to having Bird and James or Barkley and Chamberlain. Hmmm ... my team wins. P.S., I read in Gilbert's Blog that he wants to buy Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball from you.

Joesmoove in the Bronx: Dude, you keep sleeping on Dwyane Wade. I know he is injured, but do you really think Kobe and LeBron are better than him? Wade makes his teammates better, so that erases Kobe, and LeBron showed in the Finals that he lacks the killer instinct. Wade performed like no other has in the Finals. You do the math and we’ll be emailing throughout the season.

Brooks: Wade is definitely in the conversation for best player in the game today. From a pure talent standpoint, I don’t think there is anyone on Kobe’s level. LeBron is a close second and I would probably put Wade third. Don’t forget, Wade had Shaq as a wingman in the Finals. LeBron had …

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