Will Miami Heat Bench Cost LeBron James The MVP Award?


Nov 20, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade (right) talk on the bench against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James may not win the NBA’s MVP award this season, but not for the reasons you might expect. Although there are plenty of stars getting off to fast starts this season, including Paul George, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, the biggest threat to King James thrown may be from his own team.

If you are a fan of basketball, you know that LeBron is the best player on the planet. And its really not even close. He shoots like Durant, dishes like Paul and defends like George. He is truly one of a kind. The problem James faces when it comes to the MVP voting is that it is done by people. And people make mistakes. They get fatigued by the same player receiving the award over and over (see Michael Jordan), they hold non-basketball events against players (see James not winning the year of the Decision) and they sometime just plain don’t get it (see the Boston writer who tried to explain why Carmelo Anthony was MVP last season, not James).

The voters may use any excuse to pick a new MVP this year.

The Miami Heat bench is giving it to them, at least in the early season. You see, even with Dwyane Wade playing an extremely limited schedule, LeBron isn’t getting much playing time recently, and hardly any in the fourth quarter.

Over the last three games, when Coach Spoelstra has pulled LeBron for his scheduled end of 3rd quarter rest, the bench has torn it UP.

In the first three years of the big three era in Miami, any time that both Wade and James were on the bench together was knuckle-biting time. As a fan, I would count the seconds, hoping our bench could hold on for long enough to rest our stars.

Not this year. When the bench group, led by Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Norris Cole and yes, Michael Beasley hits the court to start the final period, their goal isn’t to hold on, it’s to close out. And have they ever succeeded.

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but the length and athleticism of Lewis and Beasley on the defensive end have sparked the Heat to put away Charlotte, Atlanta and Orlando without the assistance of James. In fact, LeBron hasn’t even logged a single fourth quarter minute in their most recent back-to-back.

For the Miami Heat, there really is only one goal this season, winning a third consecutive championship. The long view of the season is most certainly the right view of the season. No one can argue that their historic winning streak at the end of last year’s regular season took a huge toll in the playoffs. This year the ultimate goal will be to be healthy and rested going into the playoffs. With all that in mind, there just is no way LeBron is going to play meaningless minutes this season.

With the emergence of the Heat’s bench as a close out clue, let’s just hope there are enough of those minutes to earn LeBron another MVP.