With this NBA season unlikely to return, we will probably never get the chance to see the end of this MVP race.
By all accounts, Giannis Antetokoumpo was the clear front-runner, as he was leading Milwaukee to the top seed in the East. But is LeBron deserving of more credit? According to Lakers veteran Jared Dudley, it’s King James who should be the real front-runner.
He argued his case in a chat with The Athletic’s Michael Lee.
“LeBron where he’s at now, leading the league in assists. Getting challenged by Anthony Davis defensively and not only holding the challenge, but taking the challenge to a whole ‘nother level. Going toward the end, he’s guarding the second- or third-best players in the league, in my opinion, in Giannis and Kawhi. He’s guarding them at 35. He’s guarding them the majority of the game, fourth quarter, with his reputation on the line defensively. People say he’s trying to save energy, but he’s guarding them and we’re winning. It’s because of that. Now, offensively he’s still carrying the load and the difference between him and these other players is his ability to get everybody involved.”
Of course, while he recognized Giannis’ accomplishment this season, he differentiated the difference between putting up the best numbers and being the most valuable.
“Who really deserves the MVP this season? Both deserve it,” said Dudley. “Do I think LeBron is a little bit more deserving? Yes. Do I think Giannis’ stats are better? Yes. But the MVP is not necessarily the best stats. That’s why I’m giving LeBron the edge.
“I’ll be the first one to tell everybody, I think Giannis’ stats are a little bit better, but I believe LeBron has been more valuable this year.”
It’s true that James has turned it up another level this season. He’s dominating on both ends of the floor, is distributing the ball at a career-high rate, and is making a huge impact for his team.
But Giannis has done all of that and, arguably, more. He has been unstoppable in his attacks to the rim as he rebounds and passes at an exceptional rate. Plus, one could argue that Giannis is doing more with less — as he doesn’t have Anthony Davis to back him up in the frontcourt.
Unfortunately, we may never get the chance to witness anyone earn the award this season.