LeBron James is a force the NBA has never seen before, as every person with a pulse knows. He has Magic’s floor vision, can score with the best of them, and has the physicality that only Shaq can match. The man is already a first ballot Hall of Famer and a top 5 player in NBA history regardless of who you talk to. His list of career accomplishments is matched by few and I believe, he will be adding another trophy to that collection this year. LeBron James will win the Maurice Podoloff trophy or the NBA regular season MVP award for the upcoming 2017-2018 season.
The 2016-2017 campaign saw LeBron shoot 36.3% from beyond the arc, his third highest of his 14 season career. More importantly, however, LeBron grabbed 8.6 boards per game, a career high and also had a career high assists per game with 8.7. The progression he showed in his 14th season is an anomaly, but LeBron James is the biggest enigma in basketball history. It seems every year he does something that we have not seen before. Every year his athleticism is a topic of discussion at the beginning of the season, where pundits debate will this finally be the year that he loses a step? Will this finally be the year the freak of nature comes down to the rest of the leagues’ athleticism? Every year he proves that he is far away from his downfall as last season’s stats portray. LeBron James has an all time elite basketball IQ, which year after year continues to get better and better.
At the beginning of every season, Vegas always has LeBron as one of the top 3 favorites to win the MVP award and for good reason. For his career stat line, he averages 27, 7 and 7. With a stat line such as this, you can understand how he annually is in the talks for the award. Take his yearly averages and couple that with Kyrie Irving being traded to the Celtics and LeBron is in for one of the best seasons of his career. IT4’s stats are similar to Kyrie Irving’s, but as it always happens with new teammates there should be a 15-20 game adjustment period for Isaiah. With the loss of Kyrie, the Cavs have to overcome the loss of 25.2 points per game and 5.8 assists per game and there is no one better to achieve that feat than LeBron. The Cavs will also shift towards a more LeBron friendly offense, as now they will not be giving Isaiah nearly the same amount of isolation plays as Kyrie received (Kyrie= 409 iso plays, IT4= 248 iso plays).
Last season, only four players received first place votes. Those players were Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. Coincidentally enough, the first two player’s stats will be negatively affected by the offseason acquisitions of their respected teams. The Rockets acquiring Chris Paul, his 19 PPG, and 10 assists per game, will certainly take away stats from James Hardens’ 2016-2017 campaign. The same goes for the Thunder acquiring Paul George. PG13 brings his averages of 18 PPG, 6 RPG, and 3 APG to OKC to team up with Russ. You can be assured that PG will do the same as Chris Paul and Westbrook’s stats will not be as lofty as last year. Think back to Curry winning two straight MVPs, but not winning once the team added Kevin Durant. Having two stars on one team makes it much more difficult for one of the two to win a regular season MVP award. LeBron’s real competition for the award should end up being Kawhi Leonard and my personal dark horse candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo (as long as he can consistently hit the 3 point shot).
LBJ has the motivating factors of Kyrie calling him out to the public and not even placing in the top 2 of MVP votes last season. The rest of the league’s MVP candidates should not attain as superb of stats as LeBron. Plus, LeBron has the ability accompanied by his stats to go after the MVP award this season. LeBron should win his first MVP since 2013 in the upcoming NBA season.