NBA 2012: 5 Reasons Miami's LeBron James Is the Best Player in the League
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"Mr. Love Him or Hate Him" won his third NBA Most Valuable Trophy award the other day.
While some may argue that the award should have gone to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, if I had a vote it would go to "The Lyin' King" as he is known in less-hospitable areas.
But that's all background noise to what LeBron James did in NBA arenas this season. He had arguably one of the best season's in league history. James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 6.2 assists every game.
He's only the eighth player to win three MVPs.
The Heat are in the midst of an Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series with the Indiana Pacers.
Only a championship is an acceptable conclusion for James' Miami Heat. But that will be tough, especially now that Heat big man Chris Bosh has been injured. Also, Dwayne Wade has been beat up all year.
Can LeBron bring a title to South Beach? Or will it be another offseason of angst and teeth grinding for King James?
LeBron James' problems in the playoffs have been well chronicled. He shrinks from the moment, doesn't want the ball in crunch time, plays tight and doesn't always give 100 percent. But James won the MVP award for his play in the regular season.
Let's take a look at five reasons why he did win this season's MVP:
1. Can't be Stopped
The only one who can stop LeBron James is himself.
Now that he's learned how to play more effectively down on the block, he won't suffer an extended drought in games. He can get his shot anytime he wants it. No more settling for three-pointers. At 6'8" and 240 pounds, he's really hard to contain down low.
That may explain why he shot a career best 53.1 percent from the field this year.
Will the Heat win the title in 2012
2. Defensive Stopper
James averaged nearly two steals per game this year. Many of those steals came when he cut in front of his man and then streaked down the floor keying another Heat fast break. The Heat play at their best when in transition and James' steals are an integral part to that fast break.
3. Makes his Teammates Better
LeBron averaged 6.2 assists per game. Those passes often found themselves in the hands of role players like Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller.
James has the highest plus/minus stat of any player in the league, according to 82games.com. He finished with a simple rating of 18.0. Chris Paul was second at 15.9. Just for comparison sake, Kevin Durant finished at 11.1.
5. Passes the Bird Test
None other than Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird calls LeBron James the best player in the game in a story by Mark Berardino of the Sun-Sentinel. "LeBron is just spectacular," Bird said. "He's had a great year. He's our best player in the league. This is his time of year."
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