While this years battle in essence has boiled down to those two, several others players, the aforementioned Westbrook chief among them have remained on the periphery. Present and noticeable enough for the fans and open-minded members of the media to make arguments for, but never mainstream enough with the bulk of the voters to truly make inroads and become a serious contender.
In fact in many ways you could liken this years MVP battle to a presidential race, many good candidates that many in the general public would choose over the tried and true, but the media again steers the ship toward docking in the bay of either the appointed democrat, or appointed republican. This years MVP showdown appears to be going in just that direction.
If you were to open the field up to these outlying candidates the group would look something like this:
Those are the five guys. Now to get back to the headline ( I know I've avoided paying off far too long, my college journalism teacher would be pulling his remaining hair out about now).
What source said what about who that was so inarguable?!?!?!
That would be JR Smith. (yes Mr. tie people's shoes together himself) Smith had what has probably been the most accurate statement of this highly emotional, if not suspenseful MVP race. When commenting on teammate Lebron James' status as an MVP candidate following James' triple double in Cleveland's 109-97 win over Detroit on Monday, Smith said:
"In actuality, if you really wanted to, you could give it to him every year," Smith said of James, who won the award four times in his first 11 seasons in the league. "I mean, the numbers, what he does for teams. You see one year removed from a team like Miami -- and they probably won't even make the playoffs -- to a team that hasn't made the playoffs since he left and then, all of the sudden, we're a 52-win team. So I don't think you can do that with anybody else that's in our league right now.
James is a victim of his own success, it's as simple as that. While the three sexy picks, Harden, Curry and to a much lesser extent Westbrook are having career seasons and are playing far above the established bell curve for themselves, James is having just "another" season by his impossible standards. As of this writing, he is averaging 25.3 points, 7.4 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game, all of which are in line with his career averages of 27.3, 6.9 and 7.1. Meanwhile Harden and Westbrook are battling for the NBA scoring title and Curry (the likely winner) is in the enviable spot of being the best player on the best team.
Perhaps the most powerful part of Smith's statement however, is the measurable and definable impact James has the the W/L columns of the teams he plays for. Four-years in Miami, Four NBA Finals appearances and two NBA championships. Lebron leaves town to return home to Cleveland, and Miami falls to the fringe of playoff contention in the top-heavy, bottom soft eastern conference. In his Absence Cleveland was a perennial contender for the "are they tanking to get player X-award." Upon his return, the Cavs are a 50+ win team, firmly ensconced in 2nd place in the east and a highly thought of championship contender.
Much like Peyton Manning in the NFL, James' mere presence alters the entirety of every team he plays for and every game he plays in. You can vote for the best player on the best team, the guy who seemingly does the most with the least, or the guy who is fresh, exciting and new. All those players are highly worthy of MVP honors (Curry, Harden Westbrook respectively). But for me I have to agree with JR Smith, Lebron's clear and decisive impact on wins and losses makes him a tough guy to pass up when voting for the leagues most valuable player.
What do you think? Should Lebron James get more consideration for this years MVP? Why/Why not? Best reply gets a $50 gift certificate good to any product or service offered by Scribe Doctor except web hosting.