NBA MVP 2013: LeBron James Is a Lock to Claim Award for 2nd Straight Year

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 17, 2013

For the second straight year and fourth time in the last five seasons, LeBron James has hands-down been the best all-around player in the NBA, making him a lock to win 2013 NBA MVP honors.

James has had a tight grip on the coveted Maurice Podoloff Trophy over the past few seasons, winning the award in 2009 and 2010 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and last year in his second season with the Miami Heat.

With a fourth MVP crown, James would join Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan as the only five men to have won at least four regular-season MVP awards.

Although the award may have been up for debate in past seasons, there's simply no arguing who the best player has been in 2012-13.

In addition to leading the Miami Heat to the league's best record this season (65-16 coming into Wednesday's season finale), LeBron was key for the Heat as they recorded the second-longest winning streak in NBA history at 27 consecutive games.

While James' average of 26.8 points per game is lower than that of any of his previous three MVP seasons, he's averaging a career-best eight rebounds per game and also shooting career-best percentages from the field and beyond the arc at 56.5 and 40.6 percent, respectively.

As his shooting numbers show, James has been remarkably efficient this season, averaging fewer than 18 field-goal attempts per game for the first time in his career.

Add in the fact that he's averaging 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game and there's just no worthy competition. LeBron has been leading the 2013 MVP race ever since he recorded 26 points and 10 rebounds in Miami's season-opening win over the Boston Celtics the night before Halloween.

At age 28, James is in the midst of his prime and to deny him honors following the best season of his impressive 10-year NBA career would be an outright injustice.

Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul have each been critical to their respective teams and the success their squads have achieved this season.

However, their influence pales in comparison to that of LeBron James, a player that not only stuffs the stat sheet, but makes the Miami Heat overwhelming favorites to repeat as NBA champions this summer.

 

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