LeBron James was clear MVP over Giannis Antetokounmpo, defends Stephen A. Smith
Controversial sports personality Stephen A. Smith is is a firm believer that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was robbed of his supposed fifth NBA MVP award in the 2019-20 campaign. The league announced on Saturday that Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was the Most Valuable Player for the second season in a row.
Smith, who has been a staunch critic of LeBron in the past, was surprisingly on The King’s side on this one. The First Take host explained why James was indeed more deserving to claim the award after leading the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference this year.
“I thought LeBron James deserved to be league MVP this year. I thought the way he led the Lakers –being the number seed in the Western Conference which is superior to the East,” Smith shared.
“I think the way he has led this team, the way he has them buy-in from Day 1 of this NBA season. I can’t say enough about the leadership that he has exhibited an exuded throughout this year. No matter what personnel, what personalities, whatever the case may be. Him playing alongside Anthony Davis but still, doing the things he did. Leading the league in assists, playing the minutes that he played at age 35 at his 17th season in the league,” he furthered.
Here’s the full clip of Smith’s latest hot take.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 18, 2020
This year’s MVP race was indeed one of the closest ones in recent memory. Giannis Antetokounmpo got even better from last year’s MVP run, as he produced 29.5 points, 13.6 boards, 5.6 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.0 block in 63 regular-season games. LeBron, on the other hand, continued to defy Father Time with ridiculous numbers for the Lakers – 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 10.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 67 regular-season games.
A lot of pundits are already putting a question mark on Giannis’ Defensive Player of the Year plum, and it seems that his MVP nod is also raising a few eyebrows. It’s easy to discredit the Greek Freak after seeing his team flame out of the second round in the postseason. However, these awards are based on regular-season performances, and Antetokounmpo is definitely the best player in the best team during that stretch.