Lebron James One Vote Shy of Unanimous MVP, Wins 4th in 5 Years
LeBron James has already reached a level of greatness that only a few players in history have seen. On Sunday, James was officially announced as the 2012-13 NBA MVP. He now has won 4 of the last 5 MVP awards, falling short to Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose during the 2010-11 season. He now joins Bill Russell as the only men in NBA history to have achieved such a feat.
This season's MVP award voting almost made history in itself. James finished one single vote shy of winning the honor unanimously. With 99.2 percent of the vote, James ties Shaquille O'Neal for the highest percentage of 1st place votes in history. After a season in which LeBron scored 26.8 ppg, had 7.3 assists/game and 8 rebounds/game, it's hard to imagine voting for any other player. James also excels on the defensive side of the ball and was well-deserving of the defensive player of the year award. The lone vote not for James was cast for the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, who led the league in scoring this season.
Without criticizing Anthony's play or his value to the Knicks, there is no doubt in my mind that the voting should have been unanimous for James. The argument for James rests in the fact that he played 9 more games than Anthony this season. Over an 82 game season, you may not think that the difference between 76 games played (James) and 67 (Anthony) is significant, but the durability of a physical player like James is something truly astonishing.
Taking a look at the season totals, Lebron trumps Melo in every stat besides 3 pointers made and free throw percentage. James led Anthony by over 100 points, 150 rebounds, 380 assists, and 75 steals. How could a player like Anthony, who finished with stats paling in comparison to James, finish with a first place vote?
Even without James, the Heat are probably more talented than most other teams in the entire league. LeBron's ability to take the Heat to the next level is unquestionable, but there is a chance that Anthony is in fact more valuable to the Knicks. Without Melo, I'm not sure that the Knicks would be a top 6 Eastern Conference playoff team if at all. The Knicks' offense must run through Melo for success. He was clearly the MVP of the Knicks, though his stats are just not on the same playing field as James.
As the Heat take on Chicago in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, LeBron and co. will look to make their way back to the Conference Finals and a chance to win repeat as NBA Champions. Unfortunately for the rest of the NBA, if LeBron can continue to play on this level for the next few years, I don't see another player taking the MVP from him.