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LeBron James on 2020 NBA MVP Race: 'I've Shown What I'm Capable of Doing'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2020

FILE - In this March 10, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in Los Angeles. If James gets his way, NBA arenas and other sports venues around the country will be mega polling sites for the November general election. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

LeBron James likely won't win the 2020 NBA MVP Award, but he's proud of his and the Los Angeles Lakers' accomplishments this season.  

When asked if he was disappointed the MVP race concluded early, James told reporters:  

"I'm not disappointed because things happen. Control what you can control, and I can't control that. As far as the MVP race, I've shown what I'm capable of doing, not only individually but from a team perspective. ... There was a lot of conversation about, 'LeBron can do those things in the East, but if he ever came to the West, what can he do?' I heard all of that. To be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way that we were playing at that time and the way I was playing, that's definitely a good feeling."

James later took to Twitter to reiterate his comments about some of his critics:

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Teams' final eight games in Orlando, Florida, to conclude the campaign will not count for regular-season awards. When the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic in March, James was beginning to encroach on Giannis Antetokounmpo's huge lead in the MVP race. Antetokounmpo will likely win the MVP in a walk, based on the 65 or so regular-season games teams played before the season was halted.

Here is how the pair of MVP candidates stacked up during the regular season.

Giannis

Team Record: 53-12
PPG: 29.6 (34.5 per 36 minutes)
RPG: 13.7 (16.0 per 36)
APG: 5.8 (6.7 per 36)
TS%: 60.8
Win Shares: 10.4
BPM: 11.5
VORP: 6.0
On/Off Net: +11.8

LeBron

Team Record: 49-14
PPG: 
25.7 (26.5 per 36)
RPG:
 7.9 (8.1 per 36)
APG: 
10.6 (10.9 per 36)
TS%: 58.2
Win Shares: 9.5
BPM: 8.7
VORP: 5.7
On/Off Net: +10.8

        

It's hard to find any objective measure by which LeBron outperforms Giannis. While it could be argued that James' numbers are more impressive given that he's in his 17th NBA season, that is not how the MVP is determined. Antetokounmpo has been the best player for the NBA's best team; it's his award without much hesitation.

To be fair, several times in LeBron's career, he was the best player in the sport and someone else took home the MVP because of a compelling narrative. It's likely the narrative around James this season (35 years old, reviving the Lakers, etc.) will play a factor and get him some first-place votes.

There's just almost no chance it'll be enough to top Giannis' brilliance.