When LeBron James took his talents to South Beach this summer, the conventional wisdom said that his chances of winning the NBA MVP were "thrown out the window." Both James and Wade felt that they would gladly trade an NBA MVP for an NBA Finals MVP award.
A week ago before a game against the Golden State Warriors, James commented on his chances of winning a third consecutive MVP, saying "I think they classify it as an individual award. They look at it like the less help you have, the more numbers you have then the better chance for you to win that award."
As expected, James's statistics have taken a dip since he joined the Heat this year. He is playing less minutes per game, but the decrease in minutes doesn't fully account for the decrease in stats.
James is averaging five fewer points per game, fewer assists and rebounds per game, a lower field goal percentage and more turnovers. Wade's statistics have been affected slightly less by his new teammates, but overall, his numbers are also down.
However, James and Wade aren't without their fair share of accolades this year. In December, Wade and James were named Co-Players of the Month for the Eastern Conference in December.
Even with the decrease in statistics, Wade and James must be considered in the race for the MVP. James and Wade are fifth and sixth in the NBA, respectively, in scoring average per game. James is tied for 11th in the NBA with 7.3 assists per game.
Both James and Wade have been impressive defensively. Each of them have an average of 1.5 steals per game, and James has continued to display is signature ability for running down fast breaks and blocking shots off the backboard.
Especially in a year when there is no clear cut MVP favorite, James or Wade could have a shot at the award.
Amar'e Stoudemire, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki are the only other true current candidates for the award. Perhaps Rajon Rondo or Kevin Love could be dark horse candidates.
With over half the season remaining, James or Wade still have a chance to separate themselves from the pack. James may not have faith that it could happen, but if the Heat is able to finish with the best record in the NBA, it will be difficult to ignore his candidacy.
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