LeBron upbeat on chances to win MVP plum
LeBron James
AFP

LeBron upbeat on chances to win MVP plum

Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - July 22, 2020 - 1:22pm

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey — At age 35, LeBron James has yet to show any signs of slowing down.

James, who is in his 17th season in the league, is seen as the greatest challenger to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s back-to-back MVP bid. But that could remain a long shot with reports coming in that the 2019-20 MVP will be determined based on games played up to when the league was suspended in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm not disappointed because things happen. You control what you can control, and I can't control that," James said during the Los Angeles Lakers’ zoom call with reporters inside the NBA Bubble. "As far as the MVP race, I think that I've shown what I'm capable of doing, not only individually but from a team's perspective, us being number one in the West."

Lakers coach Frank Vogel maintained his belief that James should win his fifth MVP this season.

"Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James," Vogel said. "I do believe that he should be the MVP this year. I believe he should be the MVP and I believe Anthony Davis should be the Defensive Player of the Year. I hope those awards go to our two players."

James has been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Lakers.

But beyond those near triple-double average, LeBron’s impact on the Lakers was illustrated by Statmuse last January.

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, has staked his claim with the better statistical year and the best overall record.

The Milwaukee Bucks have a net rating of plus-27.8 and a defensive rating of 89.1 in 254 minutes when Giannis has played without a traditional big man next to him.

With Antetokounmpo anchoring the league’s No. 1 defense, he could become just the only third player to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season joining rarified air with Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

MVP or not, James though is content with proving his critics wrong once again.

"There was a lot of conversation about, 'LeBron can do those things in the East, but if he ever came to the West, what could he do?' So I heard all of that," James said. "To be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way that we were playing at that time and the way I was playing, it's definitely a good feeling."

James has ruled the Eastern Conference for seven straight seasons before he moved to the Lakers last year. In his first year in the West, he missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005 no thanks to a groin injury that kept him out for 17 games, the most he’s missed in his career.

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