If LeBron James could vote for the NBA’s most valuable player (MVP), he would pick himself over the likes of James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis.
There are quite a few candidates this season for the award voted for by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.
Houston Rockets star Harden has emerged as the favorite as his remarkable 30.7 points, 8.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game has helped his side to an NBA-leading 61-14 regular season record. They currently sit as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference ahead of the reigning champions Golden State Warriors.
Last season’s MVP Westbrook is another candidate as he has continued his extraordinary figures from the previous year, averaging 25.4 points, 10.2 assists and 9.7 rebounds per game with the Oklahoma City Thunder (44-31) likely to seal their place in the NBA playoffs, currently lying in fourth in the Western Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans (43-32) forward Davis is another shout, helping his team to 5th in the Western Conference and averaging 28.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, despite the departure of DeMarcus Cousins.
But despite all the competition, James believes he deserves the award given the circumstances of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season.
The 2016 NBA champions, currently in third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 45-30, have fielded 24 different starting lineups, had various injuries to their roster and have recently been without the likes of head coach Tyronn Lue due to illness this season.
“I would vote for me,” James told the Associated Press. “The body of work, how I’m doing it, what’s been happening with our team all year long, how we’ve got so many injuries and things of that nature, guys in and out, to be able to still keep this thing afloat, I definitely would vote me.”
However, that is not the only criterion for James’ reasoning. There’s also the fact that he is still breaking records and playing at the highest level at the age of 33. The Akron native is currently averaging 27.4 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game, which almost completely exceed his figures from 2008-09 to 2012-13 where he won the award four times.
Some of the recent records he has broken or created are making 17 assists in a game without a single turnover, becoming just the third player in NBA history to record 10-plus seasons of 2,000 points and most recently, tying Michael Jordan’s record of 866 straight games with 10 points.
“At this point in my career, I’m just trying to break the mold, break the narrative of guys in their 15th year. … I’m trying to do things that have never been done before,” James explained. “It’s crazy because I’m not setting out to do it. It’s just kind of happening organically. I’m just training my body and training my mind and going out and playing and seeing what happens.”
“I’ve said it. Obviously, I’ve had some unbelievable seasons before, but I’ve said it: This is the best I can go, just from a complete basketball player standpoint,” he said.