LeBron James: Why James Harden is Brian Windhorst’s MVP, Not LBJ

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: LeBron James
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: LeBron James /

LeBron James won’t get Brian Windhorst’s NBA MVP vote over James Harden because it was Hardn, and not LBJ, who had the better season.

Every season, there’s a case for LeBron James to be named the NBA’s most valuable player.

No one knows this better than Cavs fans, who saw their team turn into a 19-game winner the season after James departed for the Miami Heat.

If James is on your roster, you’ve always got a chance, and at the age of 33, the Akron native continues to draw oohs and ahhhs from onlookers in shock of how dominant he is for his age.

After averaging a triple-double per game for the month of February*, James thrust himself back into the conversation for the award following one of the worst months (January) of his professional career.

His plus/minus was -8.3 and shot .220 from 3-point range as the Cavs went 6-8 in January. Scribes and pundits alike openly wondered if the Cavs could make it out of the first round of the playoffs.

But then, you know, the Cavs made some major trades and LeBron put another historic line on his G.O.A.T. with his triple-double per game average for the month of February. He followed that performance up in March with his second consecutive player of the month award for March.

For MVP voter and longtime LeBron James chronicler Brian Windhorst though, James late-season push isn’t enough to garner a fourth-MVP trophy.

The ESPN reporter plans on casting his vote for James Harden, as he made known on WKNR-850 AM’s The Really Big Show.

Arm-chair point guards can’t really be too upset if Harden wins the awards. He’s having a historically great statistical season and his team will likely be the No. 1 seed in a conference where Golden State was supposed to claim the best record.

The best player on the best team is going to win the MVP award. The Cavs are a three seed and their best player basically took the month of January off.

Windhorst was a little more diplomatic in his reasoning, citing James lack of effort on defense, citing tracking numbers that show LeBron as one of the slowest on-court presences in the NBA.

"“He really just doesn’t exert much effort on defense for a whole bunch of the season. It’s not because he’s a bad defensive player, it’s a calculated risk, it’s a calculated move. One of the things we’re sort of discovering that LeBron doesn’t really talk about, but does, LeBron actually conserves engergy throughout the entire year,” Windhorst said. “It’s hard for me, when I’m looking for reasons to vote for him, and I see that James Harden has been better than him statistically, defensively.”"

Windy admits that if a game comes down to one key defensive position, everyone will select James to come up with a stop, rather than Harden, but with the NBA MVP evolving into what really amounts to a “Best Season” award, Harden is his choice to take home the hardware.

"“If you’re going to have a full season award, where you honor a guy, for having the best season, which is essentially what the MVP is, even though it’s most valuable player, it’s essentialy become best season, and it’s Harden. Harden’s had the best season,” Windhorst said."

In addition to James’ 3 MVPs, LBJ holds three Finals’ MVP awards. Michael Jordan, the man James is fighting for the title of G.O.A.T, had six.

James might not get the regular season award, but does it matter if he’s the Finals MVP? If he gets that award, it’s because the Cavs will have won their second NBA title, marking two titles for the Cavaliers.

Two championships in Cavaliers That’s like the equivalent of five championships. Two Finals’ MVPs for a team playing in “Cursed” Cleveland. That’s as good as six regular-season MVPs.

Next: Expect the Brooklyn pick not to be in the Top 5

Windhorst’s insight may be indicative of how most MVP voters feel, but when LeBron doesn’t get the regular season hardware, take solace in knowing the more important award isn’t earned until June.