For much of this NBA season, LeBron James has looked like the clear front runner to win the MVP. He was leading a Los Angeles Lakers team to a lot of wins without his superstar teammate Anthony Davis. He would’ve been the oldest player in league history to win the award.
Unfortunately, he suffered a high ankle sprain that has left him sidelined for weeks. The time off has almost certainly killed any chances of LeBron winning the award. Though he’s likely out of the race, that’s not stopping people from debating the topic. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps were recently talking on The Hoop Collective podcast and the two insiders got really heated when talking about LeBron.
Brian Windhorst gets into a heated debate over LeBron’s MVP chances 😳
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 16, 2021
The above clip wasn’t even the worst of it as Bontemps wents hard after Windhorst.
😭😭😭😭 Bontemps called him a Jackass https://t.co/XTbk1RkxRi pic.twitter.com/Wo4fdBtIuQ
— David Mai (@dmai21) April 16, 2021
Bontemps and Windhorst are two respected insiders in the NBA so it’s rare to either of them get into this kind of exchange. For whatever reason, the topic of LeBron gets people really riled up sometimes.
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Can LeBron Get Back Into the MVP Race?
While it looked like LeBron had no more shot at the MVP after getting hurt, the door isn’t completely closed. James Harden, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid have all been considered top contenders. Harden is out with an injury and Embiid just missed a significant amount of time. Jokic hasn’t been hurt but his play hasn’t been as strong lately. With Jamal Murray out for the rest of the season, the superstar big man has an excellent chance to become the clear favorite for the award.
The only way LeBron can get back into the race is if the Lakers go on a bad skid and he comes back soon. The team hasn’t been terrible without him but certainly wouldn’t make the playoffs if he missed the entire season. At this point, LeBron is just a few more missed games away from completely falling out of the race. At this point in his career, he’s more concerned with winning championships. Based on how he’s been able to defy Father Time, LeBron could be up for the award once again next year.
When Will LeBron Play?
The Lakers got their first bit of good news in a while when Frank Vogel revealed that Anthony Davis is nearing his return after two months away. That’s very exciting for the team but we still don’t have a clear timeline for a LeBron return. His return is likely dependent on a number of factors.
If the team continues to win a decent amount of games and are within the top-six seeds in the Western Conference, there’s really no reason to play him. He’s not going to win the MVP and doesn’t have anything to prove. It would be much smarter to rest him as much as possible before the playoffs if they don’t need him on the court. If he’s feeling better, he’ll certainly return prior to the playoffs. He’ll need a bit of a ramp-up period. It’s easy to see him coming back with 10 games left in the regular season. That would give him about two more weeks to recover.
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