LeBron James does not think he will win the MVP this season, nor will Dwyane Wade in the mind of the two-time defending Most Valuable Player. From ESPN:
“When we decided to come together our Most Valuable Player chances kind of went out the window,” James said before the Heat played the Golden State Warriors Saturday.
“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.”
Totally reasonable attitude from James. It’s true that you need to kind of be “the man” in order to win the award. It’s also true that being on a loaded team hurts your case with voters.
That said, MVP could have been well within James’ reach. The Heat just haven’t played well enough. James hasn’t played well enough. It’s not that James hasn’t played well, he’s been his usual brilliant self. But more was expected. Particularly, James’ assists should be much higher than they are. James is averaging 7.3 assists, which is second-best in his career behind last year’s 8.6. But that was in Cleveland with Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. He’s got Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade now.
What’s more, the Heat are the 8th worst team in percentage of field goals assisted. Granted the Heat were third worst last year, so they’ve gotten better, but you have to wonder if Erik Spoelstra’s offense has something to do with it. Regardless, James’ assists are down, and as a result, his numbers don’t pop off the page. And with the talent he’s surrounded by, the numbers should pop off the page.
It’s true that the MVP voting process is inconsistent and difficult, but it’s still within reach. James won’t win it, but it’s not because he plays beside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. It’s because playing next to those two hasn’t made him incredibly better.