While much of the MVP hype has surrounded Oklahoma’s Kevin Durant lately, the Miami Heat’s LeBron James may not be ready to give up the MVP award just yet. As the NBA heads into its All-Star break LeBron has again been making his case for his fifth NBA MVP award.
Perhaps James does not like the fact that people are talking about another player as the MVP of the league. For the past few seasons LeBron has indisputably been the best player in the league. This season however, Kevin Durant has single-handedly carried the Thunder to the best record in the league and he has began to rival LeBron for that title. This rivalry may have started to the fuel the fire of competition into James.
When the two MVP candidates met up earlier this season, Kevin Durant and the Thunder got the best of LeBron James and the Heat. After that game, many people declared Kevin Durant the MVP of the league. Recent games have shown that the Miami Heat and LeBron James are not ready to give up on the MVP award so quickly.
LeBron has received the MVP award four times in his career. Only Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, have won the award more than four times. Since LeBron had a season low 13 points against the Utah Jazz on Saturday he has returned to his MVP form.
Against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night LeBron had 37 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists en route to a Miami Heat victory. On Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron again led the Heat in points, rebounds and assists. James had 36 points 13 rebounds 9 assists and of course, a game winning three pointer with one tenth of a second left in the game.
Not only has LeBron demonstrated his confidence through his on court performance, but he has also expressed his confidence through the media. In the past week LeBron has stated that he could win the NBA slam-dunk contest if he decided to enter, and that he believes he will be one of the greatest four players to have ever played basketball by the time he retires.
One of the main reasons LeBron’s counterpart, Kevin Durant, has had such an impressive season so far, is that he has played most of it without the support of All-Star guard, Russell Westbrook. In victories against Phoenix and Golden State, both currently playoff teams, LeBron led the Heat to victories without their All-Star guard, Dwyane Wade in the lineup. Wade has missed a plethora of games this season due to soreness in his knees.
Both Durant and James have carried their franchises without much help from their team’s second best players and both have very similar stat lines this season. On the season Kevin Durant is leading the league in scoring with 31.5 points per game on 51 percent shooting. James is third in the league in the scoring averaging 26.5 points per game on 57 percent shooting. Durant averages 7.8 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game, Lebron averages 7.0 rebounds per game and 6.6 assists per game.
James and Durant will be face off in New Orleans for the All-Star game as they represent the East and West respectively. Look for the two superstars to go head-to-head in the All-Star showcase as they both try to make a statement to the rest of the league. The NBA season is not over yet, and LeBron James is not ready to give up on his fifth MVP award so easily.
Commentary By Eric Kummel