Why does LeBron deserve a third MVP?
Published: Monday, June 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2012 15:06
There has been some speculation since LeBron James was named the MVP for the third time in four years in early May. Some believe that the award should have went to Kevin Durant, the NBA’s scoring champion for three straight years, and the youngest player to ever win that title. Doubters believed that LeBron’s year was not MVP quality, and that he won the award merely because he was the winner of a popularity contest. This is simply not the case.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James had very similar seasons. Both were the faces of their respected franchises and both put up outrageous number at times. They each led their team to the second seed in the NBA playoffs, and each of them led the way as they both swept their first round opponents.
Durant, the 6-foot-9-inch scoring machine out of the University of Texas had another outstanding season. He averaged 28 points and eight rebounds during the regular season and shot a red hot 49.6 percent from the field. His assist numbers rose from under three a game in 2011, to three and a half in 2012. Durant made his case pretty forcefully this season, and his efforts would have most definitely warranted him receiving the award. Only LeBron James stood in his way.
James’ season was in no way inferior to Kevin Durant’s. James averaged 27.1 points per game in the regular season, adding 7.9 rebounds and over six assists. His field goal percentage was a blistering 53.1 percent and his turnover totals where lower than Durant’s despite having more assists. Note, I am being extremely picky when making these comparisons, but when trying to decipher who is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, there needs to be scrutiny.
People question James’ ability to finish games, and point to Durant’s ability to knock down game winning buckets with increased regularity. They question that if LeBron really is the MVP, why can’t he finish the game in the clutch? There happens to be a reason for that as well. That reason is Dwayne Wade, LeBron’s teammate and often argued to be the finisher for the Miami Heat. In most cases, it is not LeBron who misses a game-winning shot, but more often than not, it is Wade.
The public and the media never question Wade’s ability to finish a game when he misses, yet they point the finger at LeBron. That has been the trend since LeBron’s teams have started to become serious NBA Championship contenders. His performance against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, with his team trailing in the series two games to one, was the definition of MVP.
James scored 40 points, on 52 percent shooting, snatched 18 rebounds, and dropped nine assists leading to a 101-93 victory that evened the series at two games apiece with the play going back to South Beach.
It is safe to say that with each passing game, the spotlight on both James and Durant will continue to shine brighter and brighter. But neither of those players will ever shy away from that challenge. They are some of the most special players that game of basketball has ever seen, and should they meet in the finals in June, the NBA fans will be in for quite a show.