Anthony Davis Hypes LeBron James After Lakers Beat Clippers: 'He Is the MVP'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 08:  LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate a basket during a 112-103 win over the LA Clippers at Staples Center on March 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.   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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

While many consider Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo to be the runaway favorite for Most Valuable Player, Anthony Davis begs to differ.

The Los Angeles Lakers star lobbied for teammate LeBron James following Sunday's 112-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

"At 35, what this [expletive] is doing is incredible. He is the MVP," Davis said, per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "That's no disrespect to that [expletive] in Milwaukee. Giannis is having a hell of a year, but if you think about what the most valuable player means, that's 'Bron to us. Look at our numbers when he's off the floor. He's the MVP."

Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists, while the Bucks could still feasibly win 70 games this season despite having dropped three of their last four. Milwaukee is also first in the NBA in net rating (11.1), per NBA.com.

The team announced Antetokounmpo will be out at least until Thursday, though, after he suffered a minor joint capsule sprain in his left knee.

That could allow James to close the gap in the MVP race, especially if Giannis misses more time.

The 16-time All-Star doesn't need much help to climb to the top of the leaderboard. After Sunday's game, he's averaging 25.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-best 10.6 assists.

James' value is evident in how much worse the Lakers are when he's on the bench as well. Los Angeles has a 10.4 net rating with him on the floor and a minus-0.9 net rating without him, per NBA.com.

For once, voter fatigue could work in LeBron's favor, too.

Sustained excellence can occasionally be punished when it comes to postseason awards. A high level of play becomes the norm, thus making it feel more routine and causing the spotlight to turn to other players.

Antetokounmpo is averaging more points and rebounds in fewer minutes and plays on the NBA's best team. However, some voters could overlook the reigning MVP and be swayed by the narrative of James continuing to deliver at an age when most of his contemporaries have either declined or bowed out of the league altogether.