Right now, LeBron is winning the MVP race, but not by as much as you would think

LeBron has been simply phenomenal this season. It will be very hard for any other player to overcome him in the MVP race
 

I'm sure you've heard of all the ridiculous, superhuman-like stats that LeBron James of the Heat has put up recently in the month of February in which James' Heat have played six games, five of which they have won. A shooting percentage of over 68 percent, three-point shooting percentage of over 55 percent, points per game average of over 30, rebounds per game over six, and assists over five.

LeBron's recent stretch of absurdly efficient play has gotten countless coverage on the national networks and deservedly so. However, the one major thing that many people aren't realizing about LeBron is that he has been putting up similar numbers to these THE ENTIRE SEASON, a fact that is clearly evident when the league leaders boards are looked at. 

Although it can be said that, individual-performance-wise, LeBron has been the best player this season with relative ease, it can be argued that he hasn't been the most valuable to his team, which is filled to the brim with current and former All-Stars. One could certainly make the argument that someone like Tony Parker–who is at the helm of the team-with-the-best-record-in-the-NBA San Antonio Spurs–deserves the much-consecrated Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award more than someone like LeBron. 

In making the case for Parker, one would most likely have to focus on how often his fellow stars in Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have been injured this season, leaving the Belgium-born point guard alone to run this well-disciplined team. Other than a few games here or there, LeBron hasn't had to face this kind of adversity this year, an aspect of the MVP consideration that stats really can't account for. 

That idea brings up the age-old question/debate topic of what exactly the M, V, and P of MVP stand for. Many people view it as having a literal definition, meaning that the award should be given to the player who holds the most importance to their team as in if they weren't playing, said team would not be as the same level as if they were. In this case, someone like Parker or Carmelo Anthony would be a more fitting candidate as without them on the court producing to the levels they have this season, the Spurs and Knicks wouldn't be nearly as good as they have been. 

The other view of MVP held by some people is that it denotes a player who has demonstrated the perfect mix of absurd stats–with the benefit of talented teammates as well–with a well-performing team. LeBron James would fall into this category of MVPs as a dominant individual player, but one who has certainly benefited from his surrounding cast of fellow All-Stars, highlighted by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Although LeBron is one of the most talented players in the NBA, his stats probably wouldn't be as cushy without Wade and Bosh by his side and would suffer is Melo's supporting cast was in stead of James' on the Heat.

It is a very tough, and personal, decision for the MVP voters as to how they can interpret the three letters of the acronym. The truth is that right now, LeBron is the perfect mix of those two voting methodologies and should be the frontrunner in the race at this point. Compound that with his 60+ percent shooting rate this month and it appears to be LeBron's race to lose. However, the disparity between him and other candidates like Parker and Melo isn't really as big as most imagine it to be. It really just comes down to what the guys voting for the award support more as an interpretation of the term "MVP". It's crazy that such an important distinction comes down to something like that.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, for his entire life. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18

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