After spending his entire career in the Eastern Conference, LeBron James made the jump out West as he looked to revive a proud Los Angeles Lakers franchise that had fallen on difficult times. James’ first season with the team didn’t go as planned, but it’s been followed by an impressive campaign.
James’ case for MVP has been closed after the NBA announced they will not be taking the 2019-20 season restart at Walt Disney World into consideration for voting. Prior to the league shutting down, James had closed the gap between himself and Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Lakers weren’t far removed from impressive wins over the Bucks and L.A. Clippers in back-to-back games, and James was averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and out a league-high 10.6 assists per game.
The fact that the 35-year-old continues to withstand the effects of Father Time has only helped solidify his candidacy. While James isn’t concerned about the MVP race, he made note of his play in the Western Conference as it often was speculated how he would fare.
“Us being No. 1 in the West, there was a lot of conversations about, ‘LeBron can do those things in the East but if he ever came to the West, what could he do?’ I heard all of that,” James said. “To be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference, playing the way we were playing at that time, and the way I was playing, that’s definitely a good feeling.”
The Lakers are now in position to secure the No. 1 seed in the West at 49-14 heading into the seeding games in Orlando. It seems James has not forgotten about all the critics that used this to downplay his previous accomplishments during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.
On top of playing at an elite level, James has also been aided by the arrival of Anthony Davis. Together, they have the Lakers in prime position to win the franchise’s 17th championship.
Making case for LeBron to win MVP
After Lakers head coach Frank Vogel campaigned for James to win MVP and Davis to be recognized with the Defensive Player of the Year Award, teammates have also voiced their support.
“It’s Year 17, he’s probably owed a couple that he missed out on,” Danny Green said of James. “He’s arguably the best player in the world for the last 15 or 17 years that he’s been in the league. 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.”
Davis added: “I mean, he’s playing one of his best years on a top team in the West. 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.”
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