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Cavs’ LeBron James left off of several MVP ballots

On Monday night, basketball fans tuned in to the NBA’s annual awards ceremony. After a lengthy deliberation, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was given this year’s Most Valuable Player award, topping Houston Rockets guard James Harden and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

If you’re a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, you may be asking yourself, ‘Hey, what about LeBron James?’ Even though he could be considered the league’s MVP nearly every season, James knew that Westbrook, Harden, and Leonard were the top three candidates. In fact, the top three finalists were released prior to Cleveland’s Game 2 matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

James, who averaged 26.4 points, 8.7 assists (career-high), 8.6 rebounds (career-high), and 1.2 steals in 37.8 minutes per game last season, finished fourth in MVP voting. Surprisingly, the King, who has won the award four times, was left off of a few ballots entirely, as Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reports in his recent article.

Via Jason Lloyd of The Athletic:

“In MVP voting, J. Michael Falgoust of CSN Washington, Richard Walker of the Gaston (North Carolina) Gazette and international reporter Marcelo Nogueira of Ole left James off their ballots.

“Falgoust voted Kawhi Leonard first, followed by James Harden, Russell Westbrook, John Wall and DeMar DeRozan. Walker voted Harden, Westbrook, Steph Curry, Isaiah Thomas and Leonard. Nogueira voted Harden, Westbrook, Leonard, Thomas and Curry.

“James did receive one first-place vote for MVP, which was cast by Miami-based Associated Press reporter Tim Reynolds.”

Westbrook, a man who set a new record with 42 triple-double performances last season, is certainly deserving of the MVP award. However, leaving James off of the ballot all together seems incomprehensible. As Justin Kubatko of Basketball Reference and statmuse.com reports, James has received either a first, second, or third-place MVP vote in each of his last 14 seasons — the longest such streak in NBA history.

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