LeBron was robbed of MVP title!
Even before Tuesday night's game six of the NBA finals, there were intense discussions as to who should be the MVP for the finals. It was widely accepted that if the Cleveland Cavaliers go on to win the series, then LeBron James would be a shoo-in. He was outstanding throughout the series, putting up unheard-of numbers. Most observers feel that if the Cavs lose, then the MVP for the finals should go to someone from the winning Golden State Warriors team. Not since Jerry West in 1969 has the MVP for the finals gone to a member from the losing team, and it was pretty much taken for granted that this should be the natural order of things.
As many of us expected, the Cavs did lose game six, which meant Golden State took the series 4-2. The finals MVP didn't then go to LeBron James, but instead to Golden States' André Iguodala. This, I think, was just errant nonsense. LeBron James was robbed! He suffered from a 'fool fool' tradition that says finals MVP's should go to those lifting the trophy when the confetti starts to fall.
LeBron was the man
By weight of sheer numbers, LeBron James was the man. LeBron ended the series averaging 35.8 points from the field. He was averaging 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game. These are just insane numbers. In all of these three categories, he led everyone who took part in the final, the first time that happened in NBA finals. LeBron scored 40-plus points in the first three games, also beating the record for the most points after three games in NBA finals history.
At one point, it appeared that it was LeBron against the Golden State Warriors. Not since Michael Jordan in the 1990's has one man contributed such a large percentage of his team's points in NBA finals. When LeBron was off the court resting, his team didn't score a single three point shot for the entire series! Without his presence on the court, it seems his team forgot how to play. He has had to play more minutes than any other superstar in the game's history. How he didn't 'drop down' at some point is a ringing testimony to arguably the world's best-conditioned athlete.
This foolishness that you have to be on the winning team to be finals MVP was cruelly exposed. If the award was for the best player in the finals, then this was a no contest. Nobody who has even a passing interest in the sport would deny that LeBron was the most outstanding player on display in the finals. The numbers were too imposing to be ignored.
Some argue that the MVP is not necessarily about the best player but who was most valuable. If we take the word 'valuable' and examine it properly, then there can't be any one who was more valuable (or important), not only to his team, but for the spectacle of the NBA finals.
single most crucial figure
LeBron James was easily the single most crucial figure in the NBA finals. Of that there can be no doubt. Take away Iguodala and Golden State would still go on to win. His team didn't need him the way LeBron's team needed him. In fact, if the judges were going to maintain the status quo and ensure that the finals' MVP went to a member of the winning team, then Stephen Curry should have won this without too much trouble. Curry was not only the floor general for Golden State, he was always lethal from just about anywhere on court and attracted so much attention why Iguodala got so many open looks. In other words, Iguodala needed Curry for him to look good. Curry didn't need anyone.
Iguodala, after all, was averaging a mere 16 points per game in comparison to Curry's 26. Curry had 6.3 assists per game, while Iguodala had four. Curry didn't even get one of the eleven votes that decided the MVP. That is madness! Iguodala won this MVP title based on nothing but emotion when he came in after his team was 2-1 down and did well in the three consecutive games they won after. He did some good defensive work on LeBron, but that didn't stop the 'King' from posting remarkable numbers.
If LeBron James wasn't going to get it, then Stephen Curry, the regular season MVP, should also have been MVP, for the finals. The award, though, belonged to LeBron. Take away LeBron James and the Cavs would be swept. They would struggle to put up 70 points in any game without LeBron's marauding presence! Four of the eleven judges felt LeBron should have won the MVP. The other seven were suffering from temporary insanity!
-Orville Higgins is a sports journalist and talk-show host. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org