Although LeBron James will no longer be able to add to his case for MVP this season, he did manage to make it a two-man race between himself and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
After years of criticism for playing in what many deemed a weakened Eastern Conference, James has positioned the Los Angeles Lakers to secure the top seed in the Western Conference heading into the NBA season restart at Walt Disney World.
The 35-year-old is still playing at an elite level by averaging averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and a league-high 10.6 assists per game.
Antetokounmpo has also done his part by leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA at 53-12 while putting up a career-high 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. He is also among the favorites to join some elite company by potentially taking home Defensive Player of the Year honors as well.
Many feel Antetokounmpo has solidified his status as the reigning MVP with his efforts on both ends of the floor this season.
Anthony Davis highlighted that James’ performance in his 17th season should also be taken into consideration. “The things he’s doing at his age. I mean, he’s playing one of his best years on a top team in the West,” Davis said.
“The things he’s able to do on the floor, especially when everybody was saying he was washed and should hang it up, he’s come back with a dominant performance. And then just to be in the race at his age and point in his career, for me to see it every night, the things he does on a consistent basis, he’s been doing it his whole career. I think it’s a good argument for him to be MVP.”
Danny Green doubled down on Davis’ comments and even suggested the NBA owes it to James for some of their previous snubs.
“There’s a lot of them, man. It’s Year 17, he’s probably owed a couple that he missed out on. He’s arguably the best player in the world for the last 15 or 17 years that he’s been in the league,” Green said.
“This year, we’re the top team in the West because of him and A.D. A lot of people counted him out, didn’t think he was at the level he was before, and it seems like he hasn’t lost many steps at all. Not even half a step. Obviously he’s not the same crazy-athletic LeBron, but he’s still doing a lot of things that he was doing in Years 5 and 6, which is amazing.”
While the prospect of James’ track record and longevity being taken into consideration with the voters may seem far-fetched, he has done more than enough to establish a viable MVP resume on its own merit.
Fortunately, James is more concerned with securing the No. 1 seed in the West and winning a title under unprecedented circumstances in the bubble environment.
Vogel sees Tom Brady and Mike Singletary in LeBron
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had previously touted James as his pick for MVP and Davis to win Defensive Player of the Year. When asked for a single argument in James’ favor, the Lakers coach evoked football.
“I just think he impacts winning more than anybody in the league. His IQ, he’s the quarterback of both the offense and defense for us,” Vogel began.
“If you’re going to choose one argument, when you have Tom Brady running the show offensively and Mike Singletary barking out calls on the defensive end, you’re a dominant team.
“As to all the other factors: his scoring, ability to pass the basketball and leading the league in assists, all that stuff matters, but to hav the best offensive leader in the league and best defensive leader in one player, that’s probably the best argument.”
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