LeBron James Deserved the Finals MVP
The Golden State Warriors were crowned champions of the NBA last night, capping what has been a wire-to-wire performance as the best team in the league this season. This Warrior’s team and championship has been years in the making: with a great front office drafting players like Stephen Curry and Draymond Green and signing key contributors such as Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston, and a coach in Steve Kerr who managed to bring it all together. We saw something really special this year.
The Warriors are great, that’s a given, and this greatness makes LeBron James’ Finals performance that much more impressive and deserving of the MVP award.
LeBron James Was Great
Everyone needs to recognize that James put on an historic performance during the NBA Finals. He averaged 46 minutes, 35.8 points 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists which will go down as the best statistical Finals ever.
Let’s also establish some facts: James Jones isn’t good, Matt Dellevadova isn’t good, JR Smith also can be very bad. Tristan Thompson, Timofev Mozgov and Iman Shumpert are quality pieces, but they are not the dynamic offensive players by any stretch. These were the six other guys that made up the Cavs roster, along with a splash of Mike Miller. That’s a really bad team right there.
He was a one-man offense. The Cavs didn’t run plays other than James Iso’s or pick and rolls with James. Forget the numbers for a second, that is an excruciating amount of minutes to play, especially when every offensive series depended on James making a play.
You can criticize his low shooting percentage, but what else can you expect when he has to average more than 32 shots per game, which he had to do. There was no point where anyone thought he was shooting too much just by looking at the players mentioned above. Is there anyone that should’ve gotten more shots?
A lot of people argue that a player’s value should translate into wins, which is another reason why LeBron should be the MVP. Lebron provided two wins; take him off the team and Cavs wouldn’t have won any games this series.
On the other hand he actual MVP, Andre Igoudala, contributed much less to the series. Take him off the Warriors, they still win this series.
Nobody On the Warriors Was Particularly Great
If Stephen Curry had come out and played a great series as well, we wouldn’t be having this debate: the MVP would be rightfully earned on his part. But he didn’t — nobody on the Warriors was dominant for the whole series. Another feat that shows how great this Warriors team, that their best player had an off series and they won in six.
The question leading into the game was could James be named the MVP over Stephen Curry if they lose? And neither of them ended up winning it, as the award went to Andre Igoudala.
Igoudala had a nice series: he played great defense on LeBron and averaged 16 points and 5 rebounds on a healthy 52% shooting. But we’re going to say he is more valuable than an all-time great performance because he was on the winning team? That’s a joke. He was good, but he obviously wasn’t good enough for anyone to think he was going to be the MVP until he actually won it.
MVP is an Individual Award
And since the MVP did go to Andre Igoudala, someone who didn’t even start every game, the NBA needs to step in. It’s safe if it didn’t happen this year, no player from a losing team will ever win the Finals MVP, like Jerry West did in 1969. So now the NBA needs to change the rules and say the MVP can only be awarded to a player on a winning team. Most voters already have added that caveat, so just put it in the rules so and call it the ‘NBA Finals Winner’s MVP’ because that’s what it is. Otherwise it distorts the award because Andre Igoudala wasn’t the most valuable player in this series: he was the most valuable player on his team.
The Warriors should be NBA Champions and LeBron should be MVP as the two results are not mutually exclusive.