James Harden is almost certain to be named the regular season MVP at the NBA Awards show, which airs tonight on TNT.
But when the Playoffs gets factored into the equation, there’s absolutely no doubt who the real MVP is.
That’s LeBron James. And it’s not even close.
Check out the best from LeBron James from this year’s NBA regular season and playoffs so far with the Cleveland Cavaliers! Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass
For the past 15 seasons, no other player has been more electrifying, gratifying, consistent and persistent as LeBron. No other player in the history of the NBA, modern or otherwise, has had to live up to so many expectations, dodge so much scrutiny and be as spectacular with no excuses or scandal to accompany them, with so little in the way of help the way that he has.
The Miami Years with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and company notwithstanding, LeBron has had to shoulder burdens too big for even the league’s most remarkable players such as Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Harden,Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant, Wade, Shaq, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and especially Michael Jordan.
None of the aforementioned led a team to the Finals as debilitated and dilapidated as this past year’s Cavaliers. The fact that LeBron was even able to drag the 2018 Cavs to The Finals speaks volumes.
Many analysts, and haters, with their Jordan comparisons in tow, love to say that His Airness never played for a “super” team. I guess they have never heard of Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, along with a great cast of role players who provided some all-star caliber teamwork to assist him in reaching the summit of the basketball mountain six times.
Keep in mind that Jordan and Kobe, the closest names on the LeBron comparison chart, both had the benefit of not only their packed rosters, but were also under the guidance and direction of Phil Jackson, arguably the greatest coach in NBA history.
Has LeBron ever played for a coach of that caliber? Have the aforementioned greats had to deal with JR Smith’s level of ineptitude?
Harden will certainly win MVP honors this year, and yes, Kevin Durant had a finals series for the ages. Especially in Game 3 of their sweep, when he went full Killmonger on LeBron’s T’Challa, scoring the quietest 43 points you’ve never witnessed, and hitting that ungodly thirty-seven foot, Rick James-Cold Blooded three pointer late in the midnight hour of regulation.
But can you really say that Durant would have the freedom to play so loosely and zoned in without the benefit of a Golden State team that was 73-9 before his arrival, who came back from a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Finals to beat his OKC Thunder squad two years ago and had won the championship the year prior?
Check out the best plays of the 2018 NBA Playoffs so far from LeBron James! Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass
A player’s value should be assessed on two things; before and after.
How were things before they came? How are things after their arrival?
Anyone who can account for thirty-four percent of his teams entire stats throughout the playoffs is pretty valuable. The only other player to have done that prior to LeBron this year, in the entire history of the game is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who accounted for thirty percent of his teams stats during one of his playoff runs with the Lakers.
To be clear, the most dominant player according to the stats before analytics were really a thing, is four percent behind LeBron James. Think about that.
During all of his nine playoff runs, LeBron James has led his teams in every statistical category: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. All five categories.
To even come close to that feat you would have to look at the dominance of Tim Duncan, who led his team in all categories but steals in his 2003 championship run. Yet it was at the behest of a very balanced and efficient team. Nothing like what we see in this years Cavaliers.
Others, like Shaquille ONeal who averaged 48% of his teams blocks across five seasons, Magic Johnson who had 55% of his teams assists in 1995, and Michael Jordan, who accounted for 35% of his 1998 bulls points, led in one category apiece.
But again, it goes without saying that these players were bolstered by teams that contained multiple all-stars at their disposal, at a time when the league was very different than it is now.
No one can honestly say that they had a more spectacular run as an individual player for the past eight seasons in the playoffs than LeBron.
But then again, since the MVP awards are only based on regular season play and not the playoffs, how meaningful can an MVP trophy be?