Saturday, May 12, 2012

LeBron James Is No MVP

LeBron James is not the 2011-2012 MVP.  In a physically taxing, strike shortened season, he managed an impressive 27 points, 8 boards, and 6 assists a night while pitching in nearly 38 minutes.  Those are fantastic numbers, but the MVP award should not be given solely on someone’s statistical achievements.  It is not as simple as a scoring title; there are intangible dimensions, like leadership, that should be considered.

Could you imagine a world where Robert Parish was quoted as saying that Kevin McHale should be the closer and K.C. Jones affirmed that at the start of the season, but Bird still won MVP?  Or how about Michael Jordan hoisting up another MVP award in a season where he gladly floated around the three point line, detached from the offense every close game, and just let Scottie finish up fourth quarters?  MVP awards provide a snapshot of what happened on the court in addition to what happened on the stats sheet. 

The 2011-2012 MVP voters had an opportunity to send a message to basket ball fans 30 years from now.  A message that said, “Numbers show that LBJ had a freak year, but he wasn’t the MVP.  He wasn’t the emotional leader of his team.  He wasn’t the closer on his team.  To boot, not one person on his team regarded him as such.”

A much better argument could be made for Chris Paul.  CP3 dropped 20 a night and added 9 dimes and just shy of three steals.  Anyone who stayed up late to watch “Lob City” saw how he meant everything to that team’s success.  Despite a terrible coach, Paul led a crew of swingmen to a 22% increase in win percentage by directing every bit of traffic on offense and defense.  Getting guys involved when they needed to be and taking over when he had to.  There is a reason why with 2 minutes left in a 5 point game, most NBA fans just feel Paul is going to win his squad the game, and most wonder if LeBron will even be noticeable.  That’s an argument no one will understand 30 years from now.  Thanks, MVP voters.


  1. Here's the thing about Lebron: He's good enough, despite being a crappy finisher, to be considered one of the all-time greats. This may seem strange to some people because being able to hit big shots in crunch time is usually the best indicator of a great player. The reason Lebron is different is because he's SO GREAT at every other aspect of the game: he's one of the best scorers and defenders in the league, he's the best rebounder and passer for his position, and he's one of the most athletic players ever. While Paul is a great player, and he makes a cute pick for MVP, he's clearly not on Lebron's level. Durant is a little closer, but he's too one-dimensional.

    I believe that Lebron will go down as the best of the 2nd tier all-time greats. Because of his failures in crunch time (like averaging 18 a game in the final last year), he won't be on the level of the dozen or so tier 1 guys (like Jordan, Kobe, Bird, Magic, etc).

    So, my point is, he's so great of a player in so many different ways that he's still better than everyone else despite being a total wuss in big moments.

  2. I will not argue against LeBron being an incredible athlete. If they made a player in a lab, he'd probably be it. But the MVP award isn't for the most physically gifted player on the court or the one who fills in the stat sheet best.

    Kobe Bryant, the fiercest post Jordan ball player, has only one MVP despite carrying his team two post Shaq titles(winning the Finals MVP both times), 9 All NBA first teams, 9 All NBA first team defense, and some other second teams for both sprinkled in there for good measure.

    A perfect example of Kobe not getting an MVP would be the '05-'06 season. Kobe averaged 35 points, 6 rebounds, and just shy of 6 assists a game with a starting line up that featured Smush Parker, Deavon George, and Kwame Brown (Note the better stat line than this year's MVP with very limited talent). There is a reason someone else won that award, the voters where sending a clear message that albeit Kobe's gifts, talent, and nightly stat line, Steve Nash's contribution superceded the purely statistical. Nash's stat line that season was 19 points, 10 dimes, and 1 steal. But he was the emotional leader of that team and did "all of the things that don't show up on the stat sheet".

  3. "I'm the best ever. I'm the most brutal and vicious, the most ruthless MVP there's ever been. There's no one can stop me. Chris Paul is a conquerer? No, I'm Alexander, he's no Alexander. I'm the best ever! There's never been anybody as ruthless! I'm magic Johnson, I'm Larry bird. There's no one like me. I'm from their cloth. There is no one who can match me. My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart! I want to eat your children! Praise be to David Stern!"