LeBron James is having one of the best years in the history of the NBA, and even Carmelo Anthony, who is a top-five candidate in his own right, seems to think that LeBron should be the hands-down favorite (per Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, h/t CBS Sports' Matt Moore)
There have been five real standout candidates so far this season, but as Carmelo pointed out after a Tuesday practice, LeBron's season has been a step ahead of most of the other players around the league:
It's All-Star break right now. I mean, he's definitely playing like a Most Valuable Player, so we'll see what happens when it comes to that.
And his past five (well, now six) games have been a snapshot of how great a season LeBron has had so far:
What he's doing right now is unbelievable. He's scored 30-something points on 11 shots and 10-for-12 and things like that. I mean, he's on an incredible run right now. I've never [seen] nothing like it.
Carmelo seemed to try to tone down just how far ahead LeBron is right now, but he is absolutely dominating the field.
Looking at LeBron's season from a statistical standpoint clearly shows that his season is borderline unprecedented. He's averaging 27 points, seven assists and eight rebounds, which are pretty LeBronish numbers.
However, he's shooting an insane 56.2 percent from the field, eighth in the NBA and the only small forward represented in the top 15. On top of that, he's shooting a career-high 42.1 percent from the three-point line, 18th in the NBA.
LeBron shakes out to an effective field-goal rate of the tiniest hair under 60 percent. Only three players have ever registered an effective field-goal percentage above 60 percent and scored 2000 points, and those three guys were either power forwards or centers.
Comparing the rest of the league is no contest. There are some great seasons happening out there, but they're all just that, great seasons. LeBron is having a monstrosity of a season.
Kevin Durant is going to be just the fourth forward to register a full season shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the three-point line and 90 percent from the free-throw line. However, he hasn't put together the passing and defensive season that LeBron has.
Carmelo Anthony is leading the league with 29 points per game, but his rebound and assist numbers pale in comparison to that of LeBron's, plus he's shooting nearly 10 percent worse from the field.
Chris Paul's performance playing point guard for the Clippers has been rather amazing this year, as the Clippers are 31-11 with him as their starting point guard. He's averaging just under 17 points and 10 assists, plus he's leading the league with 2.6 steals per game. The only problem is that he's missed 12 games already this year, which is too many to compete with LeBron's season.
Finally there's Tony Parker, who's leading the league's best team. He's got an outside shot at a 50-40-90 season and is playing terrific defense. The only problem is that he's not really dominating in any category, and LeBron's freakish dominance is going to be hard to take down with mere great all-around play.
We're approaching the point where LeBron could have an "average" LeBron season the rest of the way and he would still be the MVP favorite.
Something out of this world is going to have to happen in order to change that at this point.