The Most Valuable Player Aware is experiencing one of its toughest races in NBA history. There is a four way battle for the award between four of the NBA’s top talents: Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James. Although the national media has been highlighting Steph Curry and especially James Harden as of late, I am here to make my case for LeBron James. I will start by saying this, LeBron James will not win the award. Then again, Kobe should have a lot more than just one so that’s how I feel about the award in the first place, thanks Nash.
Although we cannot knock Harden and Curry for having a healthy season, it is worth noting that the Cavaliers only managed to win 2 out of their 11 games without their star small forward. LeBron was having a tough start to the season and needed to take a couple weeks off to rest. Ever since returning from his resting period, he has been dominating the league. Since returning on the 13th of January, the Cavaliers have a 32-8 record with LeBron in the lineup and have been showing just how good they are on a nightly basis. During this stretch, they managed to deliver losses to the NBA’s top teams, which includes Golden State. Although the Cavaliers performance isn’t as impressive as Golden State and the Cavaliers have been healthier than the Rockets, the case can still be made that without LeBron, these Cavaliers might not even be a playoff team in this week Eastern Conference! Now I do recognized that the Cavaliers acquired Mozgov, Smith, and Shumpert. However, we have to look at their performance in New York and how LeBron helped revive their careers. That’s what LeBron does, he makes players around him better.
Now, if LeBron doesn’t win, and he won’t, the Most Valuable Player Award, then he should be considered for the Coach of the Year Award. (No Chill, I know.) Listen, say what you want. David Blatt is not an NBA coach. I’m sure his career in Europe was just fine. I personally have a hard time believing that politics and religion didn’t play into the signing of Blatt in the first place. There were plenty of notable and proven NBA coaches ready to take a head coaching job, yet they opted to go with a rookie head coach. All the power to them, but they are paying for it now as the assistant coaching staff is acting as the head coach while LeBron is drinking water. He’s helped evolve Kyrie’s career, turning him into a play caller as well.
Another bonus in LeBron James’ favor is that he and the Cavaliers have picked up their defense since returning on the 13th of January. I recently posted a clip on social media of him guarding Mirotic. Although he is no Dirk, it was enough to show LeBron’s effort and ability. We all know James Harden and Steph Curry are not known for their defense, although they have picked it up as of recent. In addition to his defensive efforts, LeBron has had a healthy roster around him, and have made them all better. Curry has excelled at making his teammates better which is why he is my vote if LeBron doesn’t get it. As for Harden, he’s more of a put the team on my back type. If you’re going in that direction, why not go Russell Westbrook?
The Rockets are going to be a first round exit, that is why James Harden does not have my vote. Steph Curry is doing some historical stuff and Westbrook, or WestGOAT, is doing everything he can. If you vote for any of the four candidates, you are not wrong. However, as the Cavaliers dive deep into the playoffs, I think people will get a better look at just how dominant LeBron James has been this year. One last note, if LeBron was playing at this level to begin the year, this would not even be a debate.
LeBron James: 25.5 PPG, 7.4 APG, 6.0 RPG, 1.6 STL, .7 BLK, .490 FG%, .715 FT%, 4.0 TO
Steph Curry: 23.9 PPG, 7.8 APG, 4.3 RPG, 2.0 ST, .2 BLK, .486 FG%, .916 FT%, 3.1 TO
James Harden: 27.6 PPG, 6.9 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 STL, .7 BLK, .443 FG%, .866 FT%, 4.0 TO
Russel Goatbrook: 27.5 PPG, 8.6 APG, 7.2 RPG, 2.1 STL, .2 BLK, .419 FG%, .837 FT%, 4.4 TO
Chris Paul: 19.1 PPG, 10.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 STL, .2 BLK, .485 FG%, .898 FT%, 2.4 TO
Anthony Davis: 24.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.5 STL, 3.0 BLK, .535 %, .813 FT%, 1.4 TO <— wow
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Stats provided via espn.com