Most Valuable Player
picks and analysis by Devin Gray (@devingray33) and Pat Choi (@patty_choi)
PC - LeBron James, Miami Heat
LeBron James deserves his third MVP trophy after his highly successful regular season. He's had one of his best statistical years and it has also been his most productive one. James leads the league in efficiency per 48 minutes and is averaging 27.2 ppg, an improvement from last season, 7.9 rpg (a career high), 6.2 apg (first among forwards) and 1.9 spg with improvements in fouls, turnovers and free throw percentage from his first season with the Heat. His most astounding improvements this year are in his production in scoring. He's averaging a career high 53% field goal percentage on 19 shots attempted per game and a career high 36.2% three-point percentage. James' effect on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball is what led to the Miami Heat's 46-20 record, second in the Eastern Conference. He is the best two-way player in the league, he leads his team in points, assists, rebounds and steals and is the single biggest reason why the Heat are fourth in point differential. Most people believe that James should never receive another MVP title because he's playing along side all-star and future hall of famer, Dwyane Wade. But without Wade this season James carried his team with a 14-1 record.
|Oh yeah, and he literally jumped OVER John Lucas on an alley-oop|
All year long the Thunder looked like a lock for the number one seed in the NBA, and falling short of that has dampened the enthusiasm for Kevin Durant as MVP. Regardless, the Thunder finished 47-19, third in the NBA, but still ahead of Miami. The MVP Race is clearly between LeBron and KD, and the Durantula slightly edges out the King. Durant recently locked up his third consecutive scoring title averaging 28 points per game to become the first player since Jordan to three-peat. A dominant scorer with a feathery touch and a lanky 6’9” frame allow him to get shots up above any defender, and he’s much improved on defence as well. This season, Durant established career highs in rebounds with eight per game, blocks with 1.2 and field goal % shooting .496 while playing all 66 games. KD dropped his career-high 51 this year, and was named All-Star Game MVP, so being named regular-season MVP would be the icing on the cake to another fantastic season where Durant has made another leap, just when you thought he'd reached his full potential.
|KD for double-MVP?|