The NBA regular season is almost over and that means we’re pretty close to naming this year’s MVP. It was a weird season with the 66 games and condensed schedule and it just doesn’t feel like there is a definite MVP this year.
LeBron James was the best player in the league for the first few months. He seemed in shape while everyone else was still trying to get in shape and his numbers were the best of his career.
Kevin Durant then started to make his case for the MVP when Oklahoma City and Miami played with the Thunder winning and Durant outplaying LeBron. Durant too is having a career-season in terms of efficiency and it was clear that everyone was still kind of looking for an MVP candidate not names LeBron.
With a week left in the regular season you can look at this and say LeBron is clear and away the best player this season had to offer.
But numbers are clearly not everything. I know everyone likes to think there is a definitive definition for what constitutes an MVP but there just isn’t. It’s not always who the best player in the NBA is or who had the best numbers? Michael Jordan would have won the MVP every year if that was the case.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t come up with a system for finding out the MVP but let’s just not act like there is one already in place. In the 1961-62 season Wilt Chamberlain averaged over 50 points per game and Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double. Bill Russell won the MVP that season. LeBron’s having a great year but he has nothing on Wilt and Oscar.
There have been moments this season that would make someone feel LeBron isn’t necessarily the MVP. Like when he basically took off the month of March (25-8-6 but averaging only 6 free throw attempts per game when Miami needed him to turn it up in that month) or the few times he seemed to not show up for big games when we all thought he would (at OKC most notably and then vs. Boston).
And why don’t the Heat have the best record in the East? How is a Rose-less Chicago team outplaying them? Don’t act like it’s cool to not try until the playoffs and then expect an MVP to be handed to you.
That’s why people are looking for someone other than LeBron. He leaves a little gap for guys like Durant to emerge and Rose last year.
Durant has moments when he looks like the MVP too, like last night scoring 20 points in the second half against Phoenix or when he scored 20 in the fourth quarter against Minnesota a few nights ago. There is a case to be made for Durant, it just might be easier to make one for LeBron.
There actually is still time for one of these two to separate some more from the other. The Thunder (45-17) have four games left and the Heat (44-17) five games left. Tonight LeBron will have a big matchup at home against the Bulls on national television to make some noise. Durant could still throw up two or three more 40-point games.
LeBron might have the better overall numbers when it’s all said and done but let’s not act like Durant doesn’t deserve a few extra points if the Thunder finish with a better record than Miami and get the top seed in the West.