Usually, I try to write a creative lead to entice readers into another great article. This time, I’m going to be frank and ask the question I want an answer for: Did people really think someone deserved to be the 2011-12 NBA MVP other than LeBron James?
Honestly, the man has been tearing up every one of the league’s current great or All-Star players this season on both sides of the ball. James isn’t only hitting threes, dunking and dropping dimes but blocking shots, picking pockets and reading screens just as well or better than any other player in the league.
Before the season started, I too (almost every NBA commentator or writer said Durant was going to be the best player this season) thought the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Kevin Durant was going to walk away with the award because his team is young and hungry, and he on paper is the leader of the team.
Then the season started. Then my opinion changed.
Durant, who finished second in MVP voting, is a one and a half way player, he scores points and grabs rebounds. I say one and a half because the only rebounds he gets are defensive boards and they’re usually long bounces off of the rim after an opponent shoots a long ball. Durant doesn’t usually dive into the paint and bang his toothpick frame against the opposing team’s oak trees.
During the regular season, Durant averaged eight rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game to go along with his league high 28 points per contest. Don’t get me wrong, these are respectable numbers and are better than Jame’s in some ways, but numbers are not the only thing looked at for an NBA MVP resume.
James averaged 26.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. If these five categories are the only thing looked at (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) Durant would win 3-2.
What makes James this season’s NBA king is his ability to play at the highest level on both sides of the floor during every game on the schedule.
James is a NBA Defensive Player of the Year nominee every single season. He will never win with the likes of Dwight Howard in the league, but he is always in the conversation because of the way he stays on his man, challenges every shot, help defends and gives the Heat a chance to score a fast break transition basket every time the other team has the ball.
Since Gary Payton or Scottie Pippen, I can’t think of one other player I can say that about. It surely isn’t Durant.
Offensively, Durant is timid and doesn’t create a better look or opportunity for anyone on the Thunder while James is making Joel Anthony look like an All-Star at times. At times is the correct wording because Anthony is one of the biggest offensive liabilities in the NBA.
We all have cut down James because of his horrible fourth quarter efforts in last season’s playoffs, but he has now became a go-to-guy at the end of games on a roster with three top 25 players in the NBA with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Durant often becomes the second or third fiddle to Russell Westbrook and James Harden. How is an NBA MVP hopeful the second or third option?
This is exactly why James was ruled out of last year’s race. The Chicago Bulls‘ Derrick Rose was putting on a show on TV and through the box score while James did a co-host act with Wade and at times Bosh.
Now, James is the man in Miami and is showing why he is the best player in the NBA.
In my mind, no other NBA player had a chance two weeks after the season except for Kevin Love. On the other hand, an injury with a month and a half of the season left sank the Minnesota Timberwolves out of playoff contention. Without a playoff berth, his amazing numbers don’t mean much as Jame’s incredible numbers and evident proof that the Heat will at least get to the Eastern Conference Finals.
James has earned his third MVP trophy and has put his name in a group of players that ring bells of greatness in fans’ heads. The only thing he has to do now is win a championship to show he is one of the greatest players in the world and in NBA history.