There’s a legitimate argument to be made about LeBron James being the MVP every single season. For him to not be among this year’s top three in the MVP voting is unfathomable.
It certainly seems so to James, who after the Cavaliers’ dominating win over the Celtics on Friday expressed some displeasure to Cleveland beat writers after playing it cool on camera about not being one of the three finalist for this year’s NBA MVP award.
“Fourth? I haven’t been fourth in a long time,” James said, according to ESPN.
The last time James wasn’t among the top three for MVP was 2007-08, when he finished fourth behind winner Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett. This year James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook are the top three.
James averaged career-highs in assists (8.7 per game) and rebounds (8.6) this season while scoring 26.4 points a game. One of the 100 All-NBA voters actually voted James for the second team.
In his press conference before chatting further with local media, James claimed he hadn’t seen the snub.
"And what are you going to do about it at the end of the day?” James wondered. “My only job is to try to be the MVP for this team every night, put my teammates, put our franchise in position to be successful and ultimately compete for a championship. For me, I know what I bring to the table. This league knows what I bring to the table. That’s for you guys to write about. It’s not for me to be concerned about."
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue compared James to Shaquille O’Neal in saying both players could win the MVP every year.
"Those guys had MVP seasons, and you’ve got to give the award to some different people every now and then," Lue said, referencing Harden, Leonard and Westbrook. "I look at LeBron like Shaq; I think every year he’s the MVP, and you can give him the award every year if you wanted to. When guys have incredible seasons like James Harden did and Westbrook and Kawhi, then you kind of credit those guys and give those guys the nod. But to me, I mean, LeBron is MVP, just like Shaq, you can give it to him every year if you wanted to."