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Video: Kenny Smith says LeBron James is early front-runner for NBA MVP

LeBron James, Lakers, Kenny Smith

The Los Angeles Lakers are on cruise control as they stand at the top of the competitive Western Conference with a 12-2 record. One of the biggest reasons for their hot start to the season is one LeBron James.

The Lakers star continues to defy Father Time with his play, often setting himself apart from his peers. TNT’sĀ Charles Barkley asked Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal about who their MVP is among LeBron, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Doncic. The question immediately set off an animated discussion among the panelists:

Shaq scoffed at the suggestion that there’s already an MVP candidate after only a month of basketball, but he nevertheless answered the question and picked Giannis. Chuck chose The Beard, while Kenny The Jet chose The King.

Smith immediately explained why he saw LeBron as the favorite to win the honor if the season was to end today:

“Overall, what he’s done and the energy he’s brought to the Los Angeles Lakers,” Smith explained. “To play at this level and this stage, and be in contention and have the best record in basketball, basically I have to go with him.”

James definitely has the numbers to back up Smith’s statement. He’s averaging an impressive 25.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, and a league-leading 11.1 assists a night while deferring some of the scoring to Anthony Davis.

LeBron is once again making his case as the best player in the world after a disappointing 2018-19 season, and he’ll have a great chance of winning another MVP if he and the Lakers keep up this pace.