Miami Heat: 10 Reasons Why LeBron James Is a Lock to Repeat as MVP
Being the reigning NBA MVP is not new to LeBron James, but being a world champion is. While James has the Heat in contention for the foreseeable future, it's going to be interesting to see if he can become a four-time MVP in the upcoming season.
As it looks now, there is very little stopping James from doing just that.
When you look at the honor of being an MVP, only seven other players have ever captured the award three or more times. It's an award that solidifies your place in history as being one of the elite players to play the game, along with the obvious bragging rights of having the highest individual recognition of a regular season.
Just how many MVP's will we see LeBron end up with after he calls it quits?
To say he will or will not catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at six is quite premature, but it's possible as James enters his 10th year in the NBA at age 27.
His Obvious Stat Stuffing Ability
We will go ahead and get this point out of the way: LeBron James is the best stat sheet stuffer since the great Oscar Robertson. He is a constant triple-double threat and will continue to put up ridiculous numbers as time goes on.
For his career, James has averaged a stellar 27.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.9 assists a game. Those are nice numbers, but the most impressive feat is just how efficient he is while doing this. LeBron has cut down on the three-point attempts and continued to dominate within the arc by shooting a career high 53 percent from the field last season.
LeBron will continue to swat shots and force turnovers to pad his stats, but this has done nothing but provide wins throughout his career.
Lack of True MVP Competition
The only person standing in LeBron James' way of another MVP seems to be his budding rival, Kevin Durant. While the young star of the Oklahoma City Thunder continues to improve, it wouldn't be shocking to see him grab an MVP award next season.
Other than Durant, there isn't much competition for the prestigious award out there. Kobe will have to rely on teammates more every year as he continues to age. Chris Paul will always be a top contender for the award, but he hasn't gotten over that voting hump in his career. Kevin Love finished high in the voting last season, but until his team reaches playoff waters, he isn't likely to receive serious recognition.
Did I forget anyone?
Unless we see a surprise like Derrick Rose a few seasons back (my choice being Rajon Rondo this year), I think this award ultimately comes down to two players.
A Focus on Basketball
"The Decision" and his headache with the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the past. After a year of looking uncomfortable with the Miami Heat at times, James finally cleared his head and put his main focus on the floor in his sophomore attempt.
This past year we didn't see LeBron do much with the media as far as interviews and specials go. We also didn't see him make any promises to rile up the masses and further turn him into an antagonist.
Instead, we've seen a more relaxed and focused James with the mindset of winning for himself and his team. If he keeps this focus intact, it's going to be mighty difficult to throw the reigning MVP off his game.
Despite a career of memorable moments, James is letting his play on the court talk louder than anything.
League's Best Player in His Prime
At one point a few years back, the popular argument seemed to be whether James or Kobe Bryant was the top dog in the NBA. As of now, there is no question as to who that guy is.
LeBron has finally added a championship to his multiple MVP's, erasing any worries that he would walk away from his career empty-handed. He remains the most physically talented player in the game and the most well rounded on both sides of the ball.
We have seen him improve in the past after a season of heavy criticism, leaving his jumper as his biggest concern. Even though James tends to be a streaky scorer from outside of the paint, we have seen much progress in his becoming an absolute, unstoppable scorer.
Until Kevin Durant shows the impact of James on the defensive end of the floor, he will only be the best scorer in the NBA. As far as being the best overall, that honor currently belongs to James.
Miami Is His Team
Say what you want about the significance of Dwyane Wade spending his whole career with Miami, but LeBron James has come to South Beach and taken over the Heat. This team wins and losses are on James' shoulders more than any other player, both mentally and statistically.
Wade seems fine with LeBron running the team, and it's the overall best move for him in order to win. With Bosh as a nice supporting star, Miami has plenty of options to allow James and the Heat to put up plenty of nice results.
He's Learned How to Win
Just like LeBron said, "It's about damn time"...
That's an understatement.
The third time was the charm for LeBron to start building his championship resume, but he still has a wide-open window to add a few more rings to his collection. The first one is always the hardest to win, but the one thing you must learn from capturing a title is what it takes to repeat.
Whether James has learned this has yet to be seen, but it looks as if his Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks has brought out a whole different beast within him. He's got the ability, but let's see if his winning attitude sticks with him as time goes on.
He Brings out the Best in His Teammates
It's hard to name a player who can bring out the best of his teammates better than LeBron James. He has a knack for finding people at the right time and place to utilize their strengths.
Even in his time with Cleveland, LeBron had the ability to take a group of sub-par role players and make an NBA Finals appearance early in his career. Now that he has a better cast and has gained more experience, we are seeing various names contribute to Miami's current success.
MVP isn't always about the most impressive statistical season in the league. Instead, consider why the candidates are so valuable to their team.
We often see the high-flying dunks and flashy passes on the highlight reels, but nothing shows LeBron's true athletic ability better than him chasing down a fast break player and swatting them at the perfect time. James has made this one of his signature plays and sets a tone for what hustle really is.
While Tyson Chandler walked away with the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2011-12, James received some recognition by finishing fourth in the voting. He is a guy who can shut down a lightening-quick point guard like Derrick Rose or body up a big man like Kevin Garnett.
James knows team defense, as it seems that every team he plays on knows how to create turnovers to push the pace. Of course his rebounding is also there, but you must realize LeBron's impact on both ends of the floor to see his true value.
Point Shooting Small Power Center Position?
We've heard references of a point forward, but could he also be a small center or even a shooting forward? Sure he's listed as a small forward in the books, but his versatility as a player allows him to play any position on the floor.
James often handles the ball in the half court as he looks to get to the basket or find an open teammate for a look, but the next play we could see him posting up inside or setting up on the wing. It's his versatility that really allows Miami to show different looks on the floor and not be forced to play a prototypical lineup every night.
He gets it done on both sides of the floor, which is a rarity considering he can do it playing any position necessary.
He's Not Done Adding to His Legacy
LeBron James entered the league with higher expectations than any player to ever play the game. Many looked at him as the "King" or "Chosen One," which really garners a lot of pressure to a young player. Even if he brought a lot of attention to himself through media and personal choices, James has never backed down or said he couldn't build a legacy.
Now with three MVP's and an NBA championship while entering his prime, it's going to be interesting to see how James pads an already hall-of-fame worthy career. He's one of the greatest talents to ever step onto the floor, but at what point will we compare him to the true greats of the game?
Whether it's based on championships, MVP's or an overall impact on the floor, LeBron has the potential to have a top all-time career in the NBA, if not the greatest we've witnessed.