LeBron James: Realistic breakdown of why he will lose the MVP award

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
4 of 6
LeBron James
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LeBron James has played at a level high enough that there’s ACTUALLY a MVP debate.

Before this season was suspended on March 11, there was no doubt that LeBron James was playing the best basketball he’s ever played in a Lakers uniform. Remember this is a guy that heard boos on his HOME floor possibly for the first time in his career.

But before we get into this year where his name actually got to the debate stage, let’s look at the resume.

  • LeBron James owns four MVP awards in his 16 seasons in the league.
  • He finished ninth in voting in his rookie season,
  • He finished sixth in his second year. Then he was known by his first name of LeBron.
  • His four MVPs were won off a 13-year wave of finishing in top 5 which includes a few runner-up finishes.

To understand this concept one has to look past the individual highlights you will see on the sports shows because if you go by these, sure hand him the trophy when the social distancing period ends.

Now here’s where the MVP race started to get cloudy because up until February when Doris Burke started talking about it on a NBA broadcast. (Understand the Lakers weren’t even playing!). Even then she got laughed at.

But after James won the Western Conference Player of the Month for the second consecutive month, the laughing stopped. Then after accepting the challenge of defending Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard in wins over the LA Clippers and Milwaukee  Bucks in a three-day span, here we are.

Through those two games, James averaged 32.5 points, 8.5 assists and 8.0 rebounds while killing the narrative that his MVP caliber season was built on lesser teams. The week before the Lakers defeated the Sixers, Bucks and Clippers, their record was 0-4.

James’ argument starts on the offensive end, where he leads the league in assists at 10.6 per game. After making the “official” move to point guard this season, LeBron is the only player in the NBA to average double figures in that category this season. But that is only part of the story. The main story is his effect on the Lakers offense.

When James is on the floor, the Lakers are the second-best offense in the league after the Dallas Mavericks. When he sits down, the offense bungee jumps all the way down to 29th. He runs the point guard position so well that Rajon Rondo‘s play has been exposed enough to be a huge topic of discussion on Lake Show Life. Based off this narrative, LeBron has a chance to catch Giannis. It’s no secret that the Lakers offense can’t function without him.

LeBron James defense has skyrocketed with his renewed engagement (Also read: actually trying!)  setting a higher standard that goes back to his days in Miami. Whether it’s Anthony Davis holding him accountable or not, with James on the court, opponents shoot worse and get into the paint less frequently.

Add in James’ 25.7 points per game on a Lakers team that sits at the top of the Western Conference, the statistical argument for James as the MVP is clear.

But is it?