LeBron James has been in the MVP conversation every year for the last 15 years. To give some context as to how long James has dominated the NBA, when James finished second in MVP voting in 2006, the top-five vote-getters were Steve Nash, who won the award, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and Chauncey Billups.
Every member of that group but James is now retired. Nash is now coaching the Brooklyn Nets while James is still in contention for best player in the league.
Suffice to say, James has been doing this for a while, yet he’s only won the league MVP four times in the last 15 years, something that doesn’t add up to Frank Vogel.
“Well it’s ... what’s the right word? It’s a mistake on the voters’ part to go season after season without voting the best player in the league MVP,” Vogel said. “I mean, that’s the simplest way to put it. There’s been other players that have been deserving, but he’s been the best player in the league for as long as I can remember, maybe since his second or third year in the league. It’s one of those things that’s just unfortunate. It’s not right, and he should get it this year. I mean, he’s doing it every night and no one is as deserving.”
The problem for James has never been getting votes, though. In the years that James hasn’t won the MVP Award, he’s finished second four times, including last season, when he lost out to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
So what is the problem? The voters, according to Kyle Kuzma.
“The NBA MVP is a very political award,” Kuzma said. “Bron should have been MVP at least 8, 9, 10 times. Everybody knows that.”
James shares the belief that he should have a few more MVP Awards to his name, but he think that’s a natural feeling for a player of his caliber to have.
“I should have more than four, I believe,” James said. “But I don’t, and I don’t sit around thinking about it or crying about it... I just try to come in the next season and be the MVP and be talked about again.
“I bet a lot of the greatest that have played this game feel like they should have had more as well if you ask any one of those guys, so this is another opportunity for me to be able to be recognized as the best player from that particular season and any season, so hopefully I can just continue to play great basketball and see what happens at the end.”
LeBron James is currently the betting favorite to win the MVP Award, but the top spot has fluctuated throughout the season. Going to the All-Star Break, Embiid was the betting favorite for MVP; he’s now third behind James and Nikola Jokic.
If James continues his level of play and leads the Lakers to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the second consecutive year, he will likely be one of the favorites to win the MVP Award. That’s especially true when you consider how many games Anthony Davis has missed this season.
But if for whatever reason James falls a few votes short of his fifth MVP Award once again, he’ll go about his business the same way he did last season, when he led the Lakers to a championship.
“For me personally, the MVP, I try to be that every night for my ball club,” James said. “Available to them, and being the best player on the floor every night... (The MVP) means something. It means something for sure. I’m not gonna sit here and say it doesn’t mean anything to me, and for me to be able to win it a few times in my career has always been special. And being in the running, or hearing my name with some of the best basketball players in the league this year again, it would mean a lot.
“At my age, what I’m able to do, what I’ve been doing this whole season, what I bring to the table every single night on both sides of the floor, it would be an unbelievable thing for me personally at this point in my career, so we can see where the chips may lay.”