Jay C. Brandriet
It was the middle of February this year. I was talking to my buddy Conner. He was stoked how well LeBron James and the Lakers were playing. The subject of winning the MVP came up.
I told him, “as an LBJ guy, you’re in good shape. With 30 games to go, it’s a two man race. Problem is, Giannis Antetokounmpo has a clear lead. It could be as much as five percent. He’s outplaying the MVP effort he put down a year ago. He’s currently having the single best “Player Efficiency Rating” season, OF ALL TIME.”
Fast Forward a month. It’s now March 6th, and a huge weekend for the Lakers. They ended up beating the Bucks and the Clippers. LeBron took both games personally and it showed. His performances were loud. He was right back in the race for this coveted trophy. I told Conner, “You’re guy is now trailing by 1.8 percent, and he’s chasing hard.”
The next night LeBron could not close out the Nets at home, and Giannis came down with an injury.
Then on the evening of March 11th, a contest between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was stopped before it could get started. Covid-19 had now shown itself in pro basketball, and the season was then paused.
The NBA will continue in a bubble in Orlando. The regular season awards are going to be based on what happened before the stoppage.
The TV people seem to be pushing to vote for “King James.”
The writers are loving “The Greek Freak” in a landslide.
Let’s take a simple snapshot.
The Milwaukee Bucks had the leagues best record (53-12) and beat their opponents by an impressive 11.3 points. Giannis had averages of just under 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 6 assists. He did that playing less than 31 minutes a night. He has a chance to be the Defensive Player of the Year as well. He’s 25 years old. It’s his bodies time to thrive athletically.
The Lakers were 49-14, to top the more difficult western conference. LeBron played point guard, led the league in assists and got back to some elite defense. He threw in 25.7 points, and grabbed 8 boards on the side. L.A. was dramatically worse when LeBron was on the bench. James continues to kick father time in the crotch. He does play on the same team with a prime Anthony Davis (a top 4 to 6 player in the world).
Who should be this year’s NBA MVP?
I would vote for Giannis. I had him in the drivers seat when the season ended.
Is there a reasonable chance LeBron would have caught him? Yes.
To me, James is still the best player.
He can use this second place finish for motivation.
He can laugh about it later this fall, while covered in champagne.
Jay C. Brandriet