LeBron James is certainly well aware of his quest for greatness. He has stated in past interviews that he is chasing Michael Jordan for the greatest player of all-time title. James has a stacked resume and continues to add to it during his quest for greatness. However, adding even more accolades certainly wouldn’t hurt either. Despite being a four time champion, James has sometimes had a tough time adding more awards to his trophy case. The best example would be in 2013, when he was snubbed of the Defensive Player of The Year Award. Marc Gasol ended up winning that award, despite not making first team all-defense. Even though James was close to becoming the first ever unanimous MVP winner in NBA history, he still had one of his best defensive seasons that year. Unlike Gasol, he was able to make first team all-defense.
Jordan was able to win a Defensive Player of The Year award so James matching him in that aspect is pretty much slim to none. However, James could still win another Most Valuable Player (MVP) award before his playing days are done. If he is able to do so then he would hypothetically pass Karl Malone as the oldest MVP winner in NBA history. Despite his dominance it is surprising that somebody of James’ caliber has only won the award only four times during his career. But it’s worth mentioning that he has finished in the runner up position four times as well. He expressed his frustrations of the award voting process just last year, when he fell second to Giannis Antetokounmpo. When it comes to winning the MVP, performance alone doesn’t always guarantee winning it. Sometimes it’s about narrative more than anything.
What’s LeBron’s Narrative?
This season James could make a historical run in order to grab himself another MVP accolade. However, the overall narrative will play a huge factor. Because it’s obviously not enough for somebody like James to put up great statistics, and expect to come out victorious in this instance. When looking at the narrative aspect of things, it seems as though voters love a good story to tell. For example, James’ current teammate, Russell Westbrook, won the MVP award back in 2017. The narrative that worked in Westbrook’s favor was that he to will an underdog Oklahoma City Thunder team to victory after Kevin Durant, had left in the offseason. Also, Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple double during a season.
Speaking of which, if James is able to get the absolute best out of Westbrook, and also make him a more productive player, then that will help tie into the overall narrative. However, the main thing that James has to strive for is that he has to guide the Lakers to the best overall record in the NBA. Just being the best Western Conference team will not be good enough. Because that’s how Antetokounmpo and James Harden were able to win their respective MVPs. Which is that, aside from putting up great stat lines, they were able to lead their teams to the best overall record in the NBA. James has had a history of making the most out of very little; 2007 and 2018 seasons are great examples. Because he was able to make championship runs, despite not having the best supporting cast.
Is an MVP Award Possible at This Point?
Those two previously mentioned seasons are reasons why James should have more MVPs to his name. Despite not winning more regular season MVPs, he has been able to grab four Finals MVPs. However, James is never satisfied in his journey towards greatness. It seems as though MVP voters are looking for players that are able to make their teams “best of the best” instead of a player that is able to lead their mediocre team to victory. Which is probably why Stephen Curry wasn’t a serious MVP threat last season. James is certainly capable of making his team the one to beat. People seem to have forgotten that last season he and Joel Embiid were the ones competing for the MVP award. However, both of their injuries derailed that matchup.
Since James is fully healthy and recovered from last season, he all charged up for his “revenge tour”. It’s safe to say that the Lakers have revamped their roster from last season. So, getting the best record in NBA isn’t entirely out of the question. Lastly, the main thing that might garner voters’ attention is the overall improvement from the Lakers team. Because last season they were able to squeak into the playoffs via the play-in tournament. Then they were ultimately eliminated in the first round. If James is able to lead them from a first round exit team to the best overall record in the NBA then I don’t know what else would make him for qualified for the MVP award. Because it doesn’t matter the team or player; that’s an incredibly hard task to accomplish. But, if anybody can do it, it’s James. He’s proven it before.