LeBron James is angry and this is not good news for the Denver Nuggets, playing James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Western Conference finals.
As a matter of fact, it won’t be swell situation for either the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics, whichever survives the Eastern Conference finals.
James got really annoyed with the vote for NBA Most Valuable Player. Oh, he respects the winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. After all, the player affectionately known as The Greek Freak, averaged 29.5 points per game, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists, capturing his second straight MVP.
There is a suspicion among some players that winning the MVP award one year gives you a leg up on the award the next season. And certainly Antetokounmpo had an MVP worthy season leading the Bucks to the best record in the league.
It’s not like James is a newcomer to MVP discussions. He has won the award four times and probably deserved others. This year’s also-ran finish really hurt, though, not because Anteokounmpo won but because out of 101 first place votes, James got 16.
Sixteen in a year when he averaged 25.3 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and led the league with 10.2 assists per game. James’ moves on the court sometimes defy description. He is one of a kind, a force who can lift his team almost singlehandedly.
And he got 16 votes.
The vote count pushed James to a profanity-littered diatribe when he was asked about it. “It (ticked) me off because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first place votes … You know not saying the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP. But that (ticked) me off. And I finished second a lot in my career either from a championship and now four times as an MVP.’’
James owns three NBA championship rings—two from his time on South Beach with the Miami Heat and another after his triumphant return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the Lakers advance to the finals, he will have led nine teams from three cities to the championship round in the last 10 years.
That is an impressive resume.
If you want an argument for James MVP credentials this season, consider that he led the NBA in assists. This is a point guard masquerading as a power forward. And he did it at age 35, senior citizen status in basketball.
And he got 16 votes.
That was bad news for James and worse news for the Nuggets and Heat or Celtics.
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