From the Basement: LeBron snubbed in MVP race again

Harrison Simon, Staff Reporter

LeBron MVP
Why did LeBron deserve the MVP over Giannis? (Ashley Chen)

On Sept. 18, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was awarded his second consecutive MVP award, the first back-to-back winner of the honor since Stephen Curry in 2015 and 2016. The voting? I wouldn’t exactly call it a close race: Giannis received 85 out of the 101 first-place votes with the rest going to Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

 While the voting wasn’t neck and neck, the race was much closer than the numbers make it seem. I mean, come on! Only 16 votes for James? 16?! I understand that Antetokounmpo had an unbelievable regular season and that the advanced metrics tell us that Antetokounmpo’s season wasn’t just great, it was historic. That’s just the problem: people love to overanalyze statistics and they forget to just watch the darn game! Do I think Antetokounmpo is a deserving MVP candidate? Most certainly. But the disrespect that awards voters showed to James, just like they have his whole career, is horrendous.

Ask any old school basketball pundit what makes a player an MVP, and they’ll all tell you that you have to win. Historically, the MVP often goes to the best player on the best team. Of the 64 MVP awards handed out to players, a whopping 39 of them were on the team with the best regular-season record in the league. With a .767 winning percentage in the 2019-20 season, the Bucks were an impressive team during the regular season.

 People forget, however, to look at the other factors surrounding a player’s performance, and, ultimately, his season success. And before anyone can start complaining, yes, I have heard of Anthony Davis. Yes, he is one of the five best players in the NBA. Yes, winning is easier when you have Davis on your team. But that doesn’t take all the credibility away from yet another historic season from James.

In his 17th season, James averaged 25.3 points on top of leading the league in assists, racking up 10.2 per game. Woah. Did I read that right? Did a 35-year-old forward really just average double-digit assists for an entire season? Implying that having nine assists in a game would be below average for him? Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s also worth noting that the Lakers do have significant contributors besides James and Davis, they simply don’t have the depth that other teams do.

So, did Antetokounmpo deserve MVP? Probably. But should James have been disrespected with only 16% of the first place votes? Absolutely not. It’s just enough at this point. First James gets snubbed for the 2011 MVP, then again in 2018. I mean, when will it end? I know he’s already one of the greatest of all time, but give the man the respect he’s earned.

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