NEW YORK — LeBron James is unlikely to win the MVP award this season, but it won’t be a reflection of how important he is to the Cavaliers, or an accurate way to measure his overall overall performance.
Cleveland’s head coach, David Blatt, knows this perhaps better than anyone else.
Speaking to reporters in advance of the Cavaliers’ contest against the Nets, Blatt seemed to be well aware that his team’s best player hasn’t been included in the MVP conversation.
But he wanted to make it clear that James has been every bit as valuable to his current team as he’s been when he’s won the award in the past.
“Listen, there’s a lot of talk about this I know, externally,” Blatt said. “And it’s good, because it generates interest and buzz. But LeBron James is the best player in our league in my opinion, and probably in the opinion of many, if not most. And LeBron James is our MVP. Now how that translates outwardly, to other people and places, that’s not in our control. But I can tell you that he’s led this team and since he’s come back from his injury issues, he’s just been fabulous.”
James missed eight games from Dec. 30-Jan.12, and Cleveland put together a record of just 1-7 while he was sidelined. The Cavs dropped his first game back, too, but since Jan. 15, they’ve put together a 28-6 mark, with LeBron consistently looking like his previously dominant self.
The MVP race is the most crowded it’s been in recent memory, however, and you have to get past guys like James Harden, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook before LeBron’s name is even mentioned. A combination of fantastic seasons by others, along with perhaps a bit voter fatigue have James further out of the race than we’ve come to expect.
But as far as Blatt is concerned, James is still the game’s best — whether he comes away with a trophy to show for it or not.
“There’s a lot of great players out there, and guys are having great, great seasons,” Blatt said. “If it’s Curry or Harden or Westbrook, all the respect that I have (goes) to those guys.
“But for me … like I said, most importantly, he’s our MVP. And where that goes from there, it’s other people’s business.”