Why LeBron Was Not the Finals MVP
Justice was served.
LeBron James shouldn't have been the MVP of the NBA Finals.
Why? Well, if your team didn't win the Finals, how are you the most valuable player of the Finals?
LeBron had to play this way, without a doubt. But his numbers were extremely inflated from the lack of talent surrounding him. If Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving was healthy, his numbers would be nowhere near as crazy.
Some may understand this better than others.
In the regular season, alongside Irving and Love, James only averaged 25.3 PPG, 6 RPG, and 7.4 APG. Take them out of the equation during this series, and it bumps up to 36.6 PPG, 12.4 RPG, and 8.8 APG. Sure, he's performing out of his mind in the Finals, but that's quite clearly the reason why.
His shooting percentage is also down from 49% in the regular season to just under 40% in the post-season. Well, he's the only player on his team who can shoot, so you can't fault him, I suppose.
He can't let JR Smith touch the ball, that's for sure.
Let's take a look at some history. Jerry West -- former Laker and current Executive Board Member/Architect of the opposing Golden State Warriors -- is the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP for the losing side, in 1969. His numbers when he did it? 38 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 7.4 APG.
He's the first to tell you, he didn't want it.
I was rewarded, if you can call it that, with the MVP Award. I went to New York not long after to accept my booby prize, a brand-new, souped-up Dodge Charger — green, no less. I felt like putting a stick of dynamite in it and blowing it up, right there in Manhattan.
Criticize me if you want, but that’s how I felt. As a team, we had let down the fans and the city of Los Angeles.
If only LeBron could've pushed the series to seven games, as West did, and Game 7 was competitve ... Then you had a shot to make a compelling argument for him as MVP. That's the only acceptable scenario, in my mind.
Now, I'm sure the next thing people would argue is impact versus bare statistics.
Well, if LeBron didn't win the Finals, what kind of impact did he really have? Take him off the team and they still wouldn't have won the Finals, so where's the value? This push for Finals MVP is almost strictly based on of his name and his watchability.
As well, seems like everyone completely neglected the fact that Steph Curry -- your reigning regular-season MVP -- is on the other side, leading his team with a line of 26.2 PPG, 5 RPG, and 6 APG. And they won, by the way.
It's unforunate that LeBron's performace overshadowed the play of the Warriors team as a whole. Maybe if the Cavaliers didn't put all of their money into three players, they could have a team, too.
The NBA is a star-driven league, but sometimes that perspective becomes so warped, it's tough to remember that the game comes first.