LeBron James is the Most Valuable Player


They say two things in life are certain; death and taxes. I think it’s time to modernize that saying and add LeBron James will be an MVP candidate.

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Ever since his 2004-2005 campaign (27.2 ppg, 7.4 rebs, 7.2 ast per game per basketballreference.com) James has been a fixture in the NBA MVP race (finished at least top five in voting every year since 05-06, winning four from basketballreference.com). He probably will be one every year until he decides to hang up the Nikes in 20??.

This year is no different. LBJ has once again put up a stuffed stat line of 26 pts, 5.8 rebs and 7.3 ast on a nightly basis.

Even though LeBron is a legit candidate it feels as if he’s being overlooked a bit. All the attention is on the more young, fresh, hip stars like “The Chef” Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), “The Beard” James Harden (Houston Rockets), “The Brow” Anthony Davis (New Orleans) and the for now nickname-less Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).

All four have great cases to win the award but they don’t symbolize the word  valuable the way “The King” does.

Lets move Lebron up the MVP ladder Mortal Kombat style to see why he should win his fifth MVP award.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of numbers let’s define the term most valuable player.

The MVP doesn’t necessarily go to the best player in the league. If that were the case Kobe would have about five or six and Michael Jordan would definitely have more than five. MVP signifies the player that leads their respective team not just statistically but turns those stats into wins and those wins into title contention.

If that player is lost all hell breaks loose.

Now to those arguments.

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  • Let’s start with …

    LeBron James vs Anthony Davis

    AD is quietly leading the New Orleans Pelicans to a potential playoff berth in the very competitive Western Conference.  But a spot in the second season isn’t a given like it is for LeBron. You can’t have an MVP that doesn’t make the playoffs.

    Numbers wise James is showing a bigger impact to his team when on the floor. James has a 8.1 plus/minus compared to just a 3.9 mark for Davis. Also Lebron’s net rating of 10.5 trumps Davis’ 5 (per NBA.com).

    Another reason LeBron is more valuable is that the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been very good without him. During an eight game hiatus for LeBron in late December early January the Cavs went just 1-7. Since his return on January 13th the Cavs have been the best team in the association.

    For New Orleans in their last stint without AD they went 4-1 in a five game stretch.

    Look Anthony Davis has plenty of time to get his share of accolades but for now LBJ means much more to an actual title contending team.

    LeBron vs. Russell Westbrook

    Now Russ has been on an absolute tear of epic proportions. A stretch of five straight triple-doubles including three 40-point games vaulted him right into the thick of the race. The problem for Russ comes in team success. There is a real possibility that the Thunder could miss the playoffs.  They’re playing tug-of-war with New Orleans and Phoenix for that number eight seed in the west.

    Say the Thunder do make it in, how could Russ get the MVP and a guy like Kobe in 05-06 didn’t get it. Much like Davis Russ can’t be a MVP sitting on the couch come playoff time.

    In terms of numbers LeBron’s net rating bests Westbrook’s 5 net rating. Also head to head this year LeBron got the best of Russ. The Cavs beat OKC 108-98 at the Quicken Loans Arena on January 25th. Russ took 26 shots to get 22 points. LeBron scored 34 on a much more efficient 25 shots.

    Nice try Russ but LeBron is more valuable on a better team.

    LeBron vs Steph Curry

    Curry could be a victim of his own team’s success. The Warriors have the league’s best record and a team as deep as Curry’s range. They have Andre Iguodala and David Lee coming off the bench. That says a whole lot about the talent level in Oakland.

    Steph serves as just icing on the cake for a pretty darn good team. If you take him off  Golden State the Warriors would arguably still be a playoff team.

    On the contrary if you take LeBron off the Cavs they are a lottery team and the record shows it.

    Not to mention head to head LeBron beat Curry in a convincing fashion. February 26th the Cavs defeated the Warriors 110-99. James scored 42 points on 15 of 25  from the field. Curry had a 18 points on a dreadful 5 of 17 shooting.

    Many Curry supporters give the best player on the best team argument. This same argument can be made for James.

    The Cavaliers essentially have had two different seasons. There was the season before the big acquisitions of J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov and then there’s the season from January 13th on when LeBron returned from injury.

    According to NBA.com since January 13th the Cavs are the best team  going 23-6 in that span. So James is clearly recognized as the best player in the world, so that argument goes in his favor too.

    LeBron vs James Harden

    “The Beard” is the front runner in many people’s eyes for the award. Harden has been money this year for a Rockets team missing it’s superman Dwight Howard. So how does he stack up against LBJ?

    Let’s go to some more analytics. According to the ultimate net rating which measures the impact of a player on and off the court LeBron beats Harden and the other four candidates with a ultimate net rating of +17.5 points. The Cavs are 17.5 points better when LeBron is on the floor compared to Harden’s +12.6 points. Not to mention ‘Bron beats “The Beard” in regular net rating too, 10.5 to 6.8 (stats from NBA.com).

    Every MVP argument can be made for LeBron James. He has the numbers, he has the wins and his role on the team is irreplaceable. I’m not going to go out on a limb and say he will win but I will say in every essence of the word, Lebron James is the most valuable player in the NBA.

    Next: The People Vs. Matthew Dellavedova