No matter who wins MVP, a regular-season award, this has been the time of year LeBron James proves he’s actually the best player in the world.
He was the best player in four, maybe five, of the last NBA Finals. He deservedly won Finals MVP in 2012, 2013 and 2016. He should have won in 2015 over Andre Iguodala despite playing for the losing Cavaliers. And LeBron was a step ahead of Finals MVP for most of the 2014 series until Leonard maybe overtook him late.
That led to a bold statement from Paul Pierce, analyzing the game for ESPN. Pierce on Durant:
He may be the best player in the world today.
Pierce just slighting an old rival? Perhaps. But this is also a surprisingly fair claim.
The question at hand: If you could have only one, LeBron or Durant, for tonight’s Game 3, whom would you want on your team?
In simplest terms: Durant has outplayed LeBron in the Finals’ first two games.
But that doesn’t necessarily predict future results. Just because Durant outplayed LeBron in Games 1 and 2 doesn’t mean Durant will outplay LeBron in Game 3 and beyond. The larger sample, which favors LeBron, might hold more predictive power.
So back to the original question: If you could have only one, LeBron or Durant, for tonight’s Game 3, whom would you want on your team?
I don’t know – an uncertainty that shows how much trouble Cleveland is in.