LeBron James: Greatness taken for granted

Simon Orchard Columnist

By Simon Orchard, Simon Orchard is a Roar Expert

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    LeBron James was this week named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for a record 34th time.

    To put that stat into perspective, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are tied for second all-time with 16 each. Of current players, Kevin Durant leads the field with 14.

    The Cavaliers’ main man averaged 25.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 10.6 assists for the month of February, leading his team to a 9-2 record. James sat out one of the losses to Chicago with illness. His team have a stranglehold on the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

    So with James adding another accolade to what is already an ultra-impressive resume, the question must be asked – are we taking LeBron’s greatness for granted?

    ‘The Chosen One’ is in love with the process of being great. He’s a difference maker. A franchise changer. And he’s instilled championship DNA into a Cleveland Cavaliers roster that is attempting to become just the 12th team in history to secure back-to-back NBA titles.

    And at 32, James is an artist that is still perfecting his own craft as well.

    LeBron is averaging a career high 8.9 assists per game in the 2016-17 season. He’s shooting the three-ball at 39 per cent, well above his 34 per cent career average (Note – Stephen Curry is hitting 40 per cent this season).

    He is having the third most efficient shooting season of his career (59%). He’s in the top 10 in scoring again, and the King is seemingly cruising towards his seventh straight NBA Finals appearance – a feat that hasn’t been matched since the famous Boston Celtics era 50-years-ago.

    Yet for all the superb statistics, highlight reel plays and team success, James isn’t seriously in the discussion for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award again this season. And I for one am tired of it.

    James has been so good for so long, that it seems NBA pundits and plaudits around the world have started getting bored with what I would call ‘routine-greatness.’ Basketball analysts make daily comments about James being ‘the best player on the planet’, yet it’s been four long years since he has held the Maurice Podoloff Trophy aloft.

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is defended by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry

    And I guess that’s where the debate begins. Does ‘most valuable player’ equate to ‘the best player’? I think it should, as James clearly satisfies both arguments.

    Since James returned to Cleveland following his four seasons with the Miami Heat, the Cavaliers hold a 4-19 record when he doesn’t lace up the Nikes. They are 0-4 this season when James doesn’t play.

    On the flipside, Cleveland won more games in the first two seasons LeBron was back in town (110) than the team won over the course of the four seasons he was in Miami (97). That is how I would classify ‘adding value’.

    So what other holes can be poked in James’ resume this season?

    Well, he does have some of the best help in the league. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have played at an All-Star level so far this season. Iman Shumpert is having a career year, and Tristan Thompson is one of the most underrated big men in the league.

    James was criticised for whining about the lack of talent on the roster after a disastrous month of January for the Cavs, and this may be contributing to a sense of disdain amongst many MVP voters.

    He’s also shooting 69 per cent from the free-throw line. That’s his kryptonite, if there is one. But free throw percentage has hardly defined an MVP race before.

    So maybe it’s purely a case of who else is in the conversation?

    The men in front of him – James Harden and Russell Westbrook – have had career-best seasons, no doubt.

    Harden has transformed into arguably the best point guard in the game, one year removed from a dysfunctional and disappointing season jostling for alpha male status with Dwight Howard. Houston has surprised everyone in the NBA on the back of Harden’s superior play, but for all his offensive talents, he defends as well as an armless turnstile.

    Westbrook is the triple-double freak show. Single-handedly dragging Oklahoma City towards an unlikely playoff berth on the back of some gaudy statistics and a summer where his partner in crime, Kevin Durant, bolted to join the Golden State Warriors.

    Russ is on a mission, but it’s the selfishness that drives his mission that makes me tend to overlook him.

    There are still a few months left of the regular season and at the time of writing, LeBron had just torched the Atlanta Hawks with 38 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists, to lead the Cavs to another road victory. LeBron is the best player on the best team in the East, and Cleveland has the third-best record in the entire league.

    King James puts up superstar numbers night-in and night-out, yet does it with such consistency, that it is merely expected now. He is a victim of the unrealistically high bar he has set himself. And that is why his greatness is taken for granted.

    A scorer. A facilitator. A leader. A winner. The best player in the game. And the MVP again this season?

    If only people weren’t bored with that.

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    The Crowd Says (42)

    • March 5th 2017 @ 7:20am
      Doctee said | March 5th 2017 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      Wonderful article. I do not get how LeBron is not the MVP this year. Let’s go the whole hog. I also do not get how LeBron’s 1 of a kind huge accomplishments do not translate into best of all time. Just two examples: your best of the month stat, coming from behind 3 to 1 to win the Finals. Seems way overdue to reexamine criteria for best of all time, since they do not seem to take into account best of all time accomplishments I just noted.

    • March 5th 2017 @ 7:32am
      Swampy said | March 5th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      No arguement from me – totally agree.

      The same thing happened with MJ and it is a crime for the historical record that MJ and LBJ will not have the number of MVP’s thst would truly reflect their dominance of their eras.

    • March 5th 2017 @ 8:05am
      Mushi said | March 5th 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      Should it be “best player” depends on what you mean. If you mean the best contributor for the season then sure but letting historical context creep in devalues the process in the same way voter fatigue does.

      I’m of the view that is you looked at everyone’s contribution on court for the regular season and then say whose would you pay the most for. That’s kind of how independent value works in every other aspect.

      The narrative aspects of you need to be a top flight team (so need good team mates and front office) but can’t have too much help (so not great team mates or front office) is like some kind of deliberate over engineering to give journalists a licence to be contrarian.

      • March 5th 2017 @ 9:24am
        Swampy said | March 5th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        I’m certainly not suggesting historical context should be taken into account either. Voter fatigue certainly is at play.

        For whatever context you need – Lebron not playing for the Cavs generally ends in a L. When he plays they generally win and are possibly the best team in the league. There is little more you can add to the terms of most valuable player than that.

        • March 5th 2017 @ 9:56am
          express34texas said | March 5th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          Is James really playing better than everyone else? Is he also having a greater impact to winning than everyone else? I would strongly say ‘no’ to each of those questions, and I don’t think he’s that close either. I can see a case for him, but most people can’t. This isn’t voter fatigue. On paper as far as skill/athleticism go, he might be the MVP, but the game isn’t played on paper, though Leonard/KD would have something to say as best all-around players in the game. He gets pretty much everything he wants. He’s playing with an AS PG and whines his team needs another PG. CLE adds Williams, Korver, and Bogut midseason to an already stacked cast. How much help does he really need?

          Harden’s not an elite defender by any stretch, and neither is James anymore for that matter, but Harden is much better than most make him out to be.

          Simon, I don’t understand this RW selfishness concept you talk of. Can you explain more? And what hidden insight do you have to think this? Plus, how is this exactly a bad thing even if you’re correct? He’s averaging a triple-double and dominating the NBA on a nightly basis.

          • March 5th 2017 @ 10:30am
            Mushi said | March 5th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

            The Harden paragraph is just odd, that reads like they are comparable or Harden is better.

            Bron may not be elite at that end anymore but he still seems above average where as Harden is just below par

            • March 5th 2017 @ 10:51am
              express34texas said | March 5th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

              I don’t think it is, and isn’t meant to be. James is certainly better defensively, but I seriously doubt James would be able to lead a team like HOU to this good of a record with Beverley as his #2. Beverley would barely play on CLE and would only be their 5th or 6th best player.

              I’m onboard with your first 2 paragraphs-basically best contributor for the season with some context. I think RW/Harden are certainly ahead of James for this season in that regard, along with KD and Leonard probably.

              • March 5th 2017 @ 12:57pm
                Swampy said | March 5th 2017 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                Eric Gordon would be as good at the Cavs as he is at the Rockets in the same role. Beverley would basically be Matt Dellavedova swapped to the Cavs. If we’re comparing apples with apples Houston have a vastly improved team over last season and Harden is not without help. Howard was clearly a negative on the W/L column. We can’t just entirely allot Houston’s improvement down to Harden. What about Mike D’Antoni – no effect at all?

              • March 5th 2017 @ 1:19pm
                express34texas said | March 5th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Swampy, nobody is saying Gordon wouldn’t be as good with CLE or whoever else as he is with HOU, though he is having his best season in awhile. Beverley is much better than Delly. Delly is maybe the 5th best player for a bad MIL team.

                My point being is that while HOU is a deep team, it isn’t very talented, and Harden’s cast while solid is terrible historically for title teams. It’s up for grabs between Ariza, Beverley, and Gordon as Harden’s #2. They could be true contenders many years, but not this season when there’s stacked teams like GS, SA, and CLE around. I wouldn’t have any of them better than 5th best player for CLE. Beverley is an elite defender, probably 1st team all-nba. And his offensive game is solid. He’s an elite offensive rebounder for guards, could easily be a high-assist guy for most teams if given the opportunity, and is a solid shooter. Gordon’s a much better scorer than Beverley and can create his own shot much better, but that’s it.

                Nobody is saying it’s completely Harden. And D’antoni has a pretty bad track record. Anyone could’ve done well with 3 AS in PHO, but he never made the Finals even once with all of that either, not too good. And not good since then until this season. Harden is doing phenomenal. With what he has to work with, I think he’s accomplished more than KD, Leonard, or James, though it’s close. Maybe that’s wrong, but most people seem to think that. too. I’d take James over Harden for the playoffs though, but that’s not what we’re talking about. MVP is regular season only.

              • March 5th 2017 @ 1:53pm
                Swampy said | March 5th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                If you look at the Cavs team today I don’t see anyone Houston would want other than Thompson. And Miami are smashing them.

                Kyrie led Cavs teams were awful. Love couldn’t pull Minny into the playoffs. With James they are in the finals & winning championships.

                Ariza, Anderson, Gordon, Williams, Capella Decker & Beverley are all valuable pieces that fit to Harden’s and D’Antoni’s game plan. Mike D is a good coach. He had two bad situations in LA and NY. His fault for taking it on there but Houston is perfect for Mike.

                Harden is having an amazing season and he should be close to winning MVP but he also mailed last year in which means there is a disparity between the W/L records as well.

              • March 7th 2017 @ 3:32am
                express34texas said | March 7th 2017 @ 3:32am | ! Report

                Swampy, are you actually serious? Irving and Love are AS, and Irving played like an MVP in the Finals last year. HOU really wouldn’t want them? No doubt James is better than Irving/Love, but Irving/Love also had garbage casts before 2015. You’re comparing apples to oranges. And that’s not really the point since I’m not comparing Harden to Irving/Love leading a team. Irving/Love are support players in CLE. They’re young guys in their primes and AS-caliber players. James has 2 such guys while Harden doesn’t have anyone remotely close to either one of them. After that, CLE’s cast is constructed very well around James.

                You also don’t think HOU would want Korver/Smith’s shooting? How many backup PGs are as good as Deron Williams, who’s no longer an AS but still a solid player. CLE can go at least 10 deep, which very few teams can, probably a little deeper than HOU, but roughly the same. However, the big difference is each team’s talent level, especially for the top 3-4 players. CLE is much better here compared to HOU. Some teams have talent, some have depth, but very few have both. CLE, GS, and SA are the only teams that have both.

              • March 9th 2017 @ 10:16pm
                Swampy said | March 9th 2017 @ 10:16pm | ! Report

                Keep up with things keyboard warrior – first sentence was ‘if you look at the Cavs team today’ eg – the lineup vs Miami. Lebron and Kyrie rested, love and smith injured. The rest of squad not so good.

              • March 7th 2017 @ 6:46am
                Mushi said | March 7th 2017 @ 6:46am | ! Report

                Wait a mintue Swampy you were all Kyrie Irving is the man a month ago?

              • March 10th 2017 @ 6:49am
                express34texas said | March 10th 2017 @ 6:49am | ! Report

                Swampy, ‘the cavs team today’ could mean several different things. I’d take it as ‘the players on the current roster,’ as I thought we’d be comparing the whole season, not one game. Why would we talk about one game during the regular season?

          • Columnist

            March 5th 2017 @ 7:38pm
            Simon Orchard said | March 5th 2017 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

            Hi express34texas,
            Russ says he doesn’t care about triple-doubles, I don’t believe him. I’ve watched plenty of OKC games this season and the guy is a pig. He literally pushes his big men out of the way to get rebounds. I understand at times this is to push the pace to the other end, but rarely does it seem Russ makes his teammates better with his presence. Which is something LeBron, Harden, Kawhi and guys like CP3 do nightly.
            Yeah, OKC are probably overachieving with the roster they have, due in a large part to Westbrook. But when push comes to shove in May or June, teams will clamp him down and he’ll be relying on guys who have rarely had their number called during the season.
            In my opinion, they will probably get dumped in the 1st round of the playoffs quite easily, even with Russ putting up ridiculous numbers.
            And yes, his stats have been insane, and he will probably average a triple-double for the season, which will go down in the record books. But in terms of team success, although he is a great competitor, he’s not a great teammate, as he doesn’t extract greatness from anyone else.

            • March 5th 2017 @ 8:45pm
              Rossy said | March 5th 2017 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

              Not a great teamate? He’s averaging double digit assists despite the fact that no one on his team can hit a shot in a reliable manner?

              Imagine if he had korver, irving, love, frye and similar 40% shooters around him he would average 15+ dimes lol

              He literally wills his team to wins his clutch performance this year (statistically) is off the charts.

              I feel you are disregarding his season criminally.

            • Columnist

              March 5th 2017 @ 9:08pm
              Simon Orchard said | March 5th 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

              Westbrook has the highest usage rate in the league, a ridiculous 42.1%. This backs up my assertion that he doesn’t help/rely/trust others to contribute consistently. He will obviously score and assist more with so many touches as you pointed out below. But he also has the lowest effective FG% (aside from Dwyane Wade) amongst the top 40 players (usage rate) in the league. He’s in it for himself. Even still, an epic season by Russ, no questions there.

            • March 7th 2017 @ 4:00am
              express34texas said | March 7th 2017 @ 4:00am | ! Report

              Simon, it’s too bad this anti-RW storyline is still continuing. The same ridiculous storyline happened with Kobe, too. Sure, RW might push another teammate away to grab a rebound at times, so what? And as you eluded, it’s actually better for OKC that RW gets rebounds as he can start fastbreaks.

              How is he not making his teammates better? This is the most subjective question to ask and makes no sense. It’s easy to say when a guy like Harden or Paul makes their teammates better when their teammates are actually good and can hit shots. And for what’s worth, Paul has had at least 1 other AS teammate for most of his career, and has never made it to the CF once, just how much is he making his teammates better? RW has been a major player on 4 WCF teams, and he played better than KD last playoffs for sure. Should he keep passing to guys like Adams and Roberson when they can’t hit a shot to save their lives? You do realize OKC is a terrible shooting team and the worst 3-pt shooting team in the league, right? They have some nice pieces, but there isn’t a player in the league who would be doing better with OKC this season than RW has. The most amazing thing about RW is that he’s averaging 10apg with a below-average offensive team around him. Is that really selfish?

              OKC will probably lose in the 1st round, so what? Look at their cast, the game isn’t played 1on1. Right now, they’re going to face a historically great SA team. Of course, OKC will probably lose to them. That hardly proves he isn’t the MVP, similar to Kobe in 2006-07. Faulty analysis, too bad. You might want to check OKC’s record when RW goes for triple-doubles. There’s a strong a correlation there. RW is doing everything his team needs him to do. They need him to dominate the ball, especially when Kanter/Oladipo are injured.

              Which player(s) aren’t RW trusting? And the other question is why does he trust them as much as he does when they stink it up? Adams is a having career year. Oladipo has the ball less than ever this season, and his #’s are right there as his previous years. Roberson gets 2 more FGA/game than last year, and is wide open all game long, and still only shoots .261 from 3. Kanter is getting more FGA/MP this year than ever before. Every key player on OKC is getting plenty of chances of succeed. You might want to watch their games a bit closer.

              • March 8th 2017 @ 8:17am
                Mushi said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

                I do find it ironic that express asks people to watch games closer but can’t find anything special about Chris Paul despite numbers and tape…

              • March 8th 2017 @ 8:23am
                express34texas said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

                Mushi, I find it ironic that you and others think Paul is so special. He’s had solid teammates around him for most of his career, and still hasn’t made it out of the 2nd round. It’s the same question I ask Nash fans. Nash had great teammates, usually 2 other AS alongside him, and he never made one Finals.

                My thoughts on Paul is that he’s been a top PG for most of his career, often an elite PG, possibly a fringe top 5 player 1-2 years, but usually in the top 10-15 range somewhere. He’s never come close to Kobe, James, or KD level. He’s usually overrated by most people. He wears down towards the end of seasons often, probably primarily since he’s a tiny player. He has gotten the job down in the playoffs. If you think losing in the 1st or 2nd round justifies his elite status, fine, but I don’t.

              • March 8th 2017 @ 9:24am
                Mushi said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

                Hold on so there is literally nothing special about the game of a player you say (in damning fashion) is firmly entrenched in the top 10-15 players and occasionally in the (again damningly phrased) top 5.

                I could continue to pull apart the rest of the logic but honestly you’ve done the job of discrediting yourself so well I could only detract from it.

              • March 8th 2017 @ 3:00pm
                express34texas said | March 8th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

                Exactly Mushi. The way most people talk about Paul is that he much better than what I think he is, which doesn’t add up given all his early playoff exits. He’s a perennial AS when healthy, which isn’t a given, haven’t said otherwise. But, you and his backers have a lot of explaining to do why he’s never gotten past the 2nd round, which you haven’t even attempted to yet.

        • March 5th 2017 @ 10:29am
          Mushi said | March 5th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          I don’t know if it is that cut and dried as by that simple analysis you’re ineligible to win MVP if you play 82 games and we kind of need to compare it to other players and yes context still matters.

          He’s in the mix sure, and he’s the guy I’d take if picking first for a 7game series but there are arguments that can be made for others.

    • March 5th 2017 @ 8:49am
      Mushi said | March 5th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      I’m also always hard on players D but I think we’re being harsh on Harden at that end both this and his other MVP calibre season he’s gotten close to being a passable defender. But my heart won’t bleed for him if he misses out as it’s clear he’s just not tried during the other seasons

    • March 5th 2017 @ 9:45am
      Rossy said | March 5th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

      I don’t think you can go past Westbrook.

      I like to use ‘replace the player with a replacement level/average player at his position’

      Put Darren Collinson on the Thunder and they are a lottery team (with westbrook they will win 45+ games)

      Put Demarre Carroll on the Cavs and with all the other talent they have they are still a playoff team in the East.

      Harden looks set to get the Rockets mid 50 wins when they were projected around .500 which is pretty insane, it should be toss up between him and Westbrook.

      LeBron is a legend but plays in a weaker conference with a better supporting cast.

      • March 5th 2017 @ 10:42am
        Mushi said | March 5th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        On the Harden point isn’t that essentially the pundits fault? It’s like COY tends to be “of course our forecasts must have been right about the players so the coach must be great”.

        As for russ/Bron impact thing I always am nervous. As you point out with the rockets we are bad at forecasting but we’ll use a comparative forecast based on a hypothetical trade and assume all other roles stay the same… Even then it’s not clear what we are comparing as your sentence could mean a two spot move for the thunder vs seven for the cavs.

        • March 5th 2017 @ 1:38pm
          Rossy said | March 5th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          I will quantify it.

          Thunder would be 10th-13th in the West

          Cavs would still be 4th to 6th in the East

          I don’t think it’s saying forecasting is bad, a lot of really smart people crunched a lot of data to get some accurate forecasts and the upper end of this is being outperformed by around 10 wins. I put that down to a pretty astonishing performance.

          • March 5th 2017 @ 2:20pm
            Internal Fixation said | March 5th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            Rossy – I think you have the right idea here.

            LeBron is the best player in the NBA – still the player I would pick first on my team for his sheer brilliance across the board.

            However, most valuable player is based on the body of work across the season (not just being unstoppable in playoffs) and “value above replacement” – for that you can’t go past Westbrook this year.

          • March 7th 2017 @ 6:44am
            Mushi said | March 7th 2017 @ 6:44am | ! Report

            Forecasting is the best guide we have but it is fraught with danger, I work with “smart people” forecasting every day and the smartest ones will tell you that the most likely outcome is they are wrong, but less wrong than others.

            And here you are doing an on the fly forecast with little evidence of the “smart people” analysis to support your finding.

            Sure take any player and replace him with Carroll and then compare them to a player replaced with Collison and the collision replacement probably wins because one is positive real and box plus minus whilst the other is not.

            I think we’ve got a problem where you think every bit of his counting stats production is in spite of his “bad” team mates when it is partially because of them.

            I always struggle with the replace the players thing because the teams have been built with those players in mind. Say we do a similar exercise where you switch LeBron and Westbrook. I’d imagine that OKC would chase different players than when they had Russ and I do believe they’d be in a similar to slightly better off situation based on their performances this season. But it’s marginal.

            To be clear I love Russ. I am a thunder fan who actually saw that the Harden trade (based on information they had at the time) was a choice between Harden or Russ for an owner that didn’t want to pay the luxury tax. Sure I’d rather Clay have been willing to consider paying the tax but if that was off the table then I was “happy” they went with Russ over Harden.

            I’ve also defended Russ countless times for his selfishness and he should have been trade stuff.

            But….I don’t think he’s a lay down for MVP hell with what 20 games to still play I don’t even have a favourite for MVP at this point

            • March 8th 2017 @ 8:18am
              express34texas said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

              Right Mushi, those are good arguments. OKC doesn’t seem built very well around RW, and their depth/talent level is much worse than James has in CLE. James pretty much has everything he wants in CLE, and they’re still only the 4th best team in the NBA, and in the weaker conference. I’m not sure between James and RW who’d I take for the playoffs, but RW has been the better player so far through the regular season.

              But, I don’t know where this selfishness stuff comes from. RW is a PG who dishes lots of assists, but he’s also an elite scorer. If his selfishness was such a detriment to OKC, his coaches would play him less and/or repeatedly tell him to pass more, which isn’t the case. Do people really think he’s only playing for himself and doesn’t care much about wins/losses? Nobody in the NBA plays harder than he does. He was the only player in the AS game even playing half speed, too. Too bad the game was rigged for Davis to get MVP, or else RW wouldn’t won it for a 3rd straight time.

              Especially this season, OKC would be completely lost if RW is going off every game. Look what happens to OKC when RW is hurt for any stretch of time. They miss the playoffs in 2015, and look awful losing in the 2nd round in 2013. Sure, OKC struggled more when KD was hurt, but it goes both ways. RW realizes he needs his teammates, but they’re inconsistent, you can only put up with so much of this if they’re struggling. It’s not about # of FGAs, it’s about him staying aggressive. As long as he’s aggressive, his teammates have a chance. He might miss every layup he shoots, but if he drives strong and draws 3 defenders, the odds are in OKC’s favor to get the offensive rebound and have an easy look.

      • March 5th 2017 @ 3:48pm
        Kevin said | March 5th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        Ross I love westbrook too..but geez his turnovers kill momentum ..and his ball centric nature costs them good shots…there my only Critics..but by crikey that’s one bloke who is carrying a franchise

        • March 5th 2017 @ 8:46pm
          Rossy said | March 5th 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

          Turnovers are a function of usage – there’s going to be a certain number of turnovers per game anyway and when you hve 40-50% usage you will have high turnovers.

          In that context, team turnovers would be more reflective of any reason for concern for the Thunder, rather than Westbrook’s individual numbers.

    • March 5th 2017 @ 11:39am
      Justin Ahrns said | March 5th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      Couldn’t agree more Simon. As NBA fans we take for granted his greatness, and he really should win the MVP every year in my opinion.

      That said, it’s understandable that guys like Westbrook and Harden are getting all the media attention of late.

      • March 7th 2017 @ 6:51am
        Mushi said | March 7th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

        I think it’s a bit of no one is a clear favourite at the moment.

        I think you can point to LeBron, Harden, Westbrook, Paul (if he plays the rest of the seasona t the level he palyed the start), Kwahi (not “as” good on the defensive end this year but ahd made up for it offensively), Durant (clear that the real +/- on his defence was um real) and make a credible case at this point in the season

        If someone wanted to cast their vote for Jimmy Butler it wouldn’t be a travesty. He’s doing as much to keep the Bulls afloat as Russ is the thunder and quitely I’d take the Thunder’s roster sans Russ over the Bulls sans Jimmy.

        • March 7th 2017 @ 9:24am
          express34texas said | March 7th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          Butler’s definitely a good player, but look at his track record since he’s become a star player in 2015. It’s not very good with what he’s had to work with. CHI has underachieved, and didn’t even make the playoffs last year. He’s clearly not an MVP candidate.

          And what’s so special about Paul? He is’t even the best player on his team anymore. LAC is headed to another 1st or 2nd round exit this year.

          • March 8th 2017 @ 8:03am
            Mushi said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

            Paul is the best player on that team. If you need an explanation of “what is so special” then maybe wiki basketball and start from there.

            He leads the league in real plus minus, plays positive D despite his height (unlike some you’ve lauded…) and is on the leaderboard in every major advanced catch all stat

            On Butler his supporting cast has been horrible. This year’s in particular has been a terrible mismatch of players and roles.

            You seem completely incapable of understanding that individual does not equal team.

            You probably think Rose was a deserving MVP

            • March 8th 2017 @ 8:32am
              express34texas said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

              Mushi, I remained unimpressed. Do something in the playoffs, Paul, that’s all I ask. He has played with 2 other AS-caliber players and a former nba-winning coach. Enough excuses. Having some good advanced stats, yawn.

              Butler’s maybe a top 10 player, but certainly not top 5. This year his cast is down, but last year it was still decent, and CHI stunk.

              Rose was maybe a weak MVP pick, but there’s been worse picks in the past 15 years. Who you gonna give it to in 2011 then? CHI was the top team in the regular season. Rose played with no other AS. There were other better players that year than Rose probably, but not many. He was still a top 5 player probably. If you think James, you have a lot of explaining with why his team underachieved during the regular season.

              • March 8th 2017 @ 9:39am
                Mushi said | March 8th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

                Um the MVP is voted on for this regular season. So waiting for future play off results because of your (in my view poorly informed) view of past ones is utter nonsense.

                As for the Rose MVP, probably Howard, James would have been more deserving than Rose though. He’ll I’d take the previously mentioned Paul over him as he was way more efficient offensively and miles ahead on D.

                The best player best team short cut analysis is a snap shot of your tendency for lazy views and lack of thought.

                Rose had a break out year but that Chicago team’s differentiating factor was the bench performance. Their starters had middling play off team results but that required more than just looking at the standings.

              • March 8th 2017 @ 3:11pm
                express34texas said | March 8th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Don’t understand your first paragraph. And you have quite a condescending tone.

                I don’t buy the best player on best team is MVP theory, not sure where you’re getting your info. You brought up Rose, not me. If James was so much better for regular season, then he should’ve led his team to more wins playing alongside 2 other AS in their primes, a luxury Rose didn’t have. Not sure who I’d give MVP to that year, but I have a hard time giving it to James over Rose. Probably Kobe. Howard certainly wasn’t better than James or Kobe. MIA underachieved during 2011 regular season. Rose played like a true superstar for the season, too. If it’s between just those, I have to go with Rose as most would, too.

              • March 8th 2017 @ 8:59pm
                Mushi said | March 8th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

                I have a condescending tone because it is the only way I can address your factually bereft approach which only serves to make the world less informed with every post you make.

                I like how you back peddle away from the ridiculous parts around mvp voting etc like dion sanders in full flight.

                Yes I mentioned rose and then you defended it. Clearly you do buy it as that is the only argument for rose. His on court off court per possession was close to zero. Literally no scoreboard different if he was playing or not.

                If you go with rose (and given your inability to recognise actual facts I’m going to be a wee bit skeptical on your ability to speak for “most” when it’s been a ridiculed pick by many, I coukdn’the say most as I lack your arrogance to speak for the gpentire basketball watching population) then where is the non best player best team analysis to support.

                Oh that’s right you don’t do supporting analysis

              • March 9th 2017 @ 8:27am
                express34texas said | March 9th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

                What facts am I misinterpreting or claiming as facts that aren’t facts?

                I like how you continue to put words in my mouth and are trying to start a fight for some reason. Nobody’s back peddling, except maybe you. Not sure what you’re getting at. It’s too bad you have to resort to belittling others or where my ‘arrogance’ is coming from.

                You might want to re-read what I’ve said. Again, I don’t buy into the best player on best team is MVP theory, which you seem to keep implying I do. But, when nobody stands out, whoever this player is often will win, just the way it is. I don’t see anyone who exactly stands out for 2011. And if it’s between James and Rose only, I’d give the slight nod to Rose, which most of the voters did as well. I don’t know where Chris Paul came from? Kobe and James were highly regarded as the best players in the game in 2011 still, but when one of them leads an underachieving team(James), it’s going to be hard for him to win. James had an amazing cast and still couldn’t finish #1 in the East. This really isn’t that hard of a concept to understand. You don’t have to agree, that’s fine. And again, I would’ve given it to Kobe, not Rose.

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