Guest Post by Frank Martinez
Why LeBron isn’t the 2015 Finals MVP- after 5 games
The first question to ask is, why all the hype? We are in the midst of the highest rated (TV) NBA Finals in the last 10 years, maybe ever when you consider the online streaming options. Yet, instead of enjoying the fascinating drama filled series, the LeBron James for MVP, even if his team loses campaign is out in full force. The same talking heads who beg us to stop viewing things through the individual legacy impact for LeBron, and simply enjoy the privilege of witness an all-time great,also lead the premature LeBron for MVP campaign. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and the conclusion of these Finals which could make the LeBron for Finals MVP an uncontested argument. However, as of right now, after 5 Games and his team trailing in the series, LeBron is not the MVP win or lose as many leading American sports journalists have already concluded. Here is a rebuttal to each of the leading pro LeBron for MVP arguments.
We’ve never before seen this level of play on this stage
This is the loudest cry being heard. The historical significance of the numbers LeBron is definitely impressive and his effort inspirational. However, to claim they are unprecedented and incomparable to any previous Finals performance is downright false. Whichever per game stat you prefer to qualify your definition of value, points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, history has shown this to us at one point or another. Considering only previous Finals MVP’s, highest ppg ever is MJ in 1992 with 41.0, rebounds is Kareem in’ 71 with 18.8. Assists leader is Bird in ’86 with 9.3. Is each of these categories, LeBron’s current ranks are 2nd in ppg, 7th in rpg, tied for 3rd in apg, and well behind in blocks/steals. While we are getting this performance in one player make this truly impressive and great to witness, but to claim these numbers are unprecedented and use that as MVP qualification is biased. If fact, consider the following comparison:
Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk FG% 3FG% FT%
Player A: 32.4 6 7.4 1.4 1.4 43% 36% 84%
Player B: 36.6 12.4 8.8 1.2 0.75 39% 34% 71%
Player B leads heavily in rebounds while scoring 4 pts more but trails in steals, blocks and heavily in each shooting percentage. Player B is LeBron James in these finals after 5 games, with his team trailing. Player A put up these numbers only 6 short (long if you’re a Lakers fan) years ago, Kobe Bryant in 2009 (5 games). LeBron is impressive but not unprecedented.
No one from the Warriors is deserving
According to who’s standard? Both Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry have put up historically comparable numbers for previous Finals MVP’s. Either one is deserving at this point. Curry hasn’t dominated but has a respectable 26.2 pts, 6 assists while shooting 40% from deep and 95% from FT line. These stats are well in line with previous Finals MVP winners, especially considering the pro LeBron logic which is heavily reliant on historical comparison. Well, Wes Unseld took home Finals MVP honors in 1978 averaging 9 ppg, 11.7rpg, 3.9 apg. So to claim Steph and or Andre are unworthy is also biased.
Stephen Curry, dropped a dazzling 17 points in the 4th quarter of a pivotal Game 5 to distance the Warriors from the Cavs and in so doing, distance himself from LeBron in the Finals MVP race, but again, why is this a discussion with Game 6 yet to be played? The real show continues tonight.