LeBron James Odds to Win NBA 2014 MVP Award with Picks & Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 3/10/2014
There aren't many other awards in all sports that are as highly coveted as the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. LeBron James has won the MVP Award in four of the last five seasons, and he was named the league's MVP in each of the last two seasons. Kevin Durant is considered by many to be a significant favorite in this year's MVP race, but James isn't about to give up on this race easily.
Last week, we took a close look at Durant's odds to win the MVP . Durant and James are the only two guys who have a legitimate shot at winning the award this year. This article will focus on James' chances of winning the league's MVP Award for the third consecutive season.
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LeBron James NBA MVP Award Story Lines
Basketball experts all seemed to agree that Durant would be the one to win the NBA MVP Award as recently as a couple weeks ago. It was almost as if James was listening to the talk about Durant being the best, and he decided it was time to make a statement of his own. What kind of statement did he make? James buried his first eight 3-point attempts en route to a career-high 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats on March 3. That obviously got a lot of attention, and it brought more talk back to the battle for the NBA MVP Award.
It's hard to argue with the fact that James is the best player in the NBA right now. He is the complete package, and now that his jump shot has gotten more consistent, there really is no weakness in his game. A couple years ago his critics said he wasn't clutch, but James has gone a long ways toward proving that theory wrong in the past two seasons. James can guard the opposing team's point guard or a forward who posts up in the blocks. He can be a point-forward, or he can do damage in the blocks. You couldn't find a general manager in the NBA who would choose any other player than LeBron James to start their team with if money wasn't an issue.
LeBron James Odds to Win NBA MVP Award
It's clear that the oddsmakers still consider Durant to be the heavy favorite in the fight for the MVP Award. BetOnline currently lists Durant at -350 and James at +275 to win the MVP. CarbonSports had Durant at just -250 last week, but Durant is now listed at -300 and James is listed at +220. No sportsbook even lists any other player, so this is absolutely a two-man race at this point.
LeBron James Odds to Win NBA MVP Award: Key Statistics
Is James worthy of another NBA MVP Award? Let's take a closer look at the statistics. The number that stands out the most is James' field goal percentage, which sits at 57.2 percent so far this year. James managed to shoot 56.5 percent from the floor last year after never shooting better than 53.1 percent in his previous years in the league. He continues to raise the bar when it comes to efficiency. James is knocking down 62.8 percent of his 2-point shot attempts this season, which is a career-high. If you are looking for a tiny negative, his rebounding and assists numbers are down slightly from last year. James is averaging 27.1 points per game this year, which matches his highest since joining the Heat in the 2010-2011 season.
LeBron James Odds to Win NBA MVP Award Picks & Predictions
No player has won three consecutive NBA MVP Awards since Larry Bird did it from 1984-1986, so James is definitely fighting against history in this chase. If Michael Jordan was never able to bring home three straight MVP Awards, the voters must prefer to get a new face into the mix. While I believe it is clear that James is the best player in the league right now, there is no doubt that Durant has been carrying his team in amazing fashion this season. James has more help on his Heat roster, especially since Durant has been without Russell Westbrook so much this year. James is completely capable of going on a red-hot run at any time, but it wouldn't surprise if the Heat wait for the playoffs to show that they are the best in the business again this season. As it stands right now, it looks like James will finish second in the MVP balloting this time around.
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