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NBA MVP 2012: LeBron James Should Receive League's Top Honors

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIMay 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on in the first half against the New York Knicks in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

LeBron James is one of the most polarizing players of the last decade. You either love him or you hate him.

Most fans outside of South Beach would prefer to see the 2012 NBA MVP trophy go to anybody but James.

Unfortunately for those fans, the league's top honor must go to Bron Bron this season.

In a lockout-shortened season, James only missed four games. Three of those were through the last four games of the season, as Erik Spoelstra decided to give him some rest.

This season, James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

According to 82games.com, James has a simple rating of plus-18.7, 3.8 points higher than the second-place finisher, Chris Paul.

The simple rating is a production measure for a player's own stats versus the counterpart player on the other team while he is on the court.

This is basically a wins above replacement rating, comparing James' production to the other players in the league at his position. Going by that rating, there's simply no way that James won't be awarded the third MVP trophy of his career.

The NBA MVP race has been seldom discussed this season, with most experts believing that it has been James' trophy to lose over the last month of the season.

His nearest competitor, Kevin Durant, put up similar numbers. Durant put up 28 points and eight rebounds a game this season. The pivotal number is 3.5, nearly three fewer assists per game than James. That can be attributed to Russell Westbrook's constant need to create his own offense.

Durant gets the team record advantage, as the Oklahoma City Thunder finished the season with one more win than James and company. That's because the Miami Heat basically gave up on the race for the best record over the last week of the season, losing a pair of games to the Washington Wizards and one to the Boston Celtics.

That still doesn't put "KDTrey" on top though. One of the most impressive aspects of James' superbly efficient season is that he substantially cut down on the amount of three-pointers taken. He took less than 3.5 three-pointers per game for the first time since his rookie season.

When an already-MVP caliber player refines his game, there's no way he can be denied the award.

James boasted a robust 53 percent clip from the field on 18.9 attempts per game this season. Durant shot just under 50 percent on 19.7 shots per game.While 50 percent is nothing to turn your nose up at, James' field goal percentage was the highest of any small forward. 

While small forward is just the name of the position (James is anything but small), he displayed more efficiency than any player who doesn't just dunk the ball.

His defense leaves me in awe every time I see it. He has single-handedly shut down Carmelo Anthony for the first three games of the opening series against the New York Knicks, effectively neutralizing the Knicks' greatest offensive threat.

James notches nearly two steals per game. Put that number next to his paltry amount of personal fouls, 96, and you get a number of 1.2 steals per personal foul, the best in the league.

While James may not have figured out what to do in the clutch yet, his ridiculous numbers overcome his perceived inability to make the big shot. His absurd offensive skills, coupled with his tantalizing defensive prowess, makes the NBA MVP decision easy this season.

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