One of the biggest storylines of the 2019-20 NBA season prior to the shutdown was the MVP race between Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Both players led their teams to the best records in their respective conferences, and they are among the championship favorites as the NBA restart is now underway. Antetokounmpo seemingly managed to secure the edge as the reigning MVP with an even more impressive showing this season.
However, James steadily began to close the gap back in March, which was punctuated by back-to-back wins over the Bucks and L.A. Clippers. As teams were beginning practices inside the Walt Disney World bubble, some wondered if James would overtake Antetokounmpo for MVP.
That was put to bed when the NBA announced voting for MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and other regular-season awards ended this past Tuesday and would take into account seeding games.
Nevertheless, DeMarcus Cousins said during a recent appearance on ESPN’s “Jalen & Jacoby” that James has already made his case for MVP:
“Overtake him? I think he’s the MVP. He’s 35, he’s the only player in the league with grey hair. What more do you need from him? He’s doing this with grey hair and a grey beard. What more do you need? If you don’t pick LeBron, you’re just flat out a hater at this point.”
James continues to withstand the effects of Father Time by averaging 25.7 points and 7.9 rebounds while dishing out a league-high 10.6 assists per game. The fact that the 35-year-old still manages to play at an elite level is nothing short of spectacular and has even earned praise from Antetokounmpo himself.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not age will be taken into consideration. Since the prospect of the committee showing some bias for longevity seems somewhat far-fetched, James will have to hope the lasting image of impressive wins resonated with voters.
Lakers support LeBron for MVP
In addition to Cousins, James has garnered public support for MVP from Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, Anthony Davis and Danny Green, among others.
“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 recently said. “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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