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LeBron James on his MVP candidacy

LeBron James is undoubtedly the best player in the world, and it has now come to the point that his consistent greatness could see him take home the NBA MVP trophy every season. Due to his sustained position at the top of the NBA summit for over a decade, his greatness is now taken for granted each passing season.

James, 32, is having another MVP type caliber year, as his Cavaliers sit pretty on top of the eastern conference. Despite his incredible numbers and performances this campaign, other MVP candidates are getting more attention when giving the award this season. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are getting all the praise and plaudits, and it looks as though another MVP type year will be under appreciated yet again from the King.

Along with Westbrook and Harden, even Celtics guard Isiah Thomas and Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard are getting more recognition than James, which highly questionable considering what he’s doing night in night out.

His value has again been on show this season, as the Cavs are 0-4 when James has not taken to the floor this season.

Rightly so, when asked about his MVP candidacy, James pointed to this and his winning percentage when he’s on the floor versus when he sits via foxsports.com.

“I don’t know, just look at my winning percentage. Look at my winning percentage when I’m on the floor and when I’m not on the floor.

“I think that’s what it’s all about. This league is all about just winning.

“… I don’t know. I mean there’s so many great guys, so many MVP candidates this year. Guys having great seasons. So we’ll see.”

To be fair, Harden currently holds the most win shares in the NBA, per Basketball Reference. Westbrook doesn’t even crack the top 20, and LeBron James still sits top five. However, Harden and Westbrook are top five in team-usage, an area that LeBron James stands in 15th place despite his minutes. With his stats padded through rebounding tactics, pick-and-roll dependency and a lack of shooters, Westbrook’s triple-double averages has him leading the league in box score +/- impact this season. However, without LeBron James, a championship team becomes extremely dysfunctional, as evidence as a 0-4 record for the Cavaliers this season and 4-19 since he returned home. This may also be the case with Harden and Westbrook, but combining this reality with how dominate the Cavs become with James, his value is horrible understated in the MVP discussion.

On Tuesday night’s episode of “Speak For Yourself”, Colin Cowherd, Chris Broussard and Cris Carter dissected the MVP race, and all members came to the conclusion James isn’t getting enough consideration.

Cowherd began with the emphasis that James is without question the leagues most valuable player.

“What’s valuable mean? I mean, what does valuable mean? LeBron’s not valuable to a team… he’s valuable to a conference.

“Nick Saban’s not just dominated the SEC, he’s changed the sport. And he’s made an SEC Network. It didn’t exist before him.

LeBron is the conference. When you look at graphs, with or without LeBron in Cleveland… with LeBron, the Cavaliers’ record is empirical, it’s best in the league. Without him, they’re one of the worst teams in the NBA. He’s by far the most valuable asset the [entire] league has.”

Broussard stated despite being clearly the best player in the world, the MVP isn’t always given to the best player, which was also the case for Michael Jordan.

“LeBron is the best player in the world, and he’s been the best player in the world for maybe 10 years now. Michael Jordan was the best player in the world for 10 years straight, he didn’t get the MVP award every time. That’s not how it goes.

Carter highlighted how James makes everyone better, and he is being massively under appreciated in his assists numbers and ability to elevate others games.

“We know what [Cleveland does] without LeBron. But coming into the season, it wasn’t a goal for LeBron to be MVP. And when you watch him, he’s doing unbelievable things. I think that the part that’s really special is he’s fourth in the NBA in assists. I think that goes underrated.

“Because if you have to watch LeBron play, and watch how much better he makes everyone on the court. I mean, they are a totally different team than they were two months ago.

As the season winds down the MVP conversation will progressively grow. Right now, it looks as though Russell Westbrook and James Harden are leading the way despite James having an unbelievable year yet again.

Whether that is correct or not is up for debate, but don’t think it’s over, because like we’ve seen in the past, James always comes home strong as he increases his production and goes into playoff mode before the postseason begins.

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