Regardless of how players perform during the eight-seeding games played in NBA bubble ahead of the playoffs, the league has decided that regular-season awards will be based on what players were able to accomplish on the floor before the season was suspended. This puts Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the spotlight once again when it comes down to who will win the 2019-20 NBA MVP award.
On Monday morning, LeBron spoke to the media both in-person and through a Zoom call and addressed the fact that the NBA decided to make this move concerning the league's annual awards. The Lakers superstar, who is arguably neck-and-neck with Giannis for MVP, shared his thoughts on the matter.
“I don't really have a thought because I haven't really thought about it until now,” LeBron said. “I think those awards are always throughout this time of year to acknowledge the individuals that have had great years.
“Not only from a player's perspective but from a coach's perspective as well. So we'll see what happens.”
For the majority of the 2019-20 campaign, Antetokounmpo was making a strong case to win MVP for the second year in the row. The Bucks were arguably the best team in the league with Giannis having another season to remember while having the best record in the NBA.
However, LeBron was playing at a high level before the suspension of the season in March while also leading the league in assists (10.6) for the first time in his career. Not to mention, the Lakers were in the top spot in the Western Conference and were coming off big wins over the Bucks and L.A. Clippers.
“I'm not disappointed because things happen,” LeBron said of NBA awards race being cut short. “Control what you can control, and I can't control that.
“As far as the MVP race, I think I've shown what I'm capable of doing not only individually but from a team's perspective. Us being No. 1 in the West. There was a lot of conversation about, ‘LeBron can do those things in the East, but if he ever came to the West what could he do?'
“I heard all of that and to be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way that we were playing at that time and the way I was playing. That's definitely a good feeling.”
Although there was some debate earlier in the season whether LeBron could make a legitimate case to win his fifth NBA MVP award with Giannis having such an incredible season, the three-time NBA champion was in the conversation for the regular-season award before the league put the season on hiatus.
There's no question as the NBA season gets back underway this month in Orlando that both Giannis and LeBron have strong cases for the award. Antetokounmpo may be the frontrunner for the award right now, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that James could swoop in there and get his fifth as he continues to play at an elite level at 35 while having his team in prime position to win a title this year and potentially for the next few years.
It'll be interesting to see how the voting goes and if LeBron did enough before the suspension of the season to get the best of Giannis.