As it became clear that the Golden State Warriors were going to become the next NBA Champions, the question turned to who should be named NBA Finals MVP. There was some thought that Steph Curry would win the award since he was the best player on the best team. Curry got off to a slow start in Game 6, but finished the night with 25 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds.
Aside from Curry, many experts believed Lebron James should have been named the Finals MVP despite not being on the winning team. Lebron had another massive performance in Game 6. James scored 32 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out 9 assists. He was one assist away from recording his third triple-double of the series. For the entire 2015 Finals, ESPN released the following stats:
Ultimately, in a bit of a surprise, Andre Iguodala won the award. Let’s take a look at the case for Lebron James as NBA Finals MVP.
Lebron Winning the Finals MVP Award Would Have Been Historic
In the history of the Finals, there has only been one player to win the award on a losing team, Jerry West in 1969. Despite the Los Angeles Lakers losing the Finals to the Boston Celtics, Jerry West outstanding performance caused voters to give him the award.
King James Already Declared, “I’m the Best Player in the World”
The award would have confirmed what Lebron told everyone after Game 5. After losing Game 5, Lebron James used his post-game press conference to tell everyone he was “the best player in the world.” The comments created controversy as some people admired the confidence while others viewed them as brash and arrogant.
Where Would the Cavs Have Been Without Lebron?
Let’s think of it this way. If both Andre Iguodala and Lebron James were taken away from their respective teams, how would they have done? Certainly, Iguodala contributed greatly in the Finals, but the team has so much depth they could have managed to go on without him. Without Lebron, the Cavs would have been completely swept in the Finals. Fortunately for the Cavs, the above incident with the cameraman did not force him to miss any time.
Lebron Did Not Want the Award
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Lebron did not want to win the NBA Finals MVP if the Cavs did not win the NBA Championship. The comments were publicized before Game 6. It would have been a no win situation for Lebron. As sports radio host Dan Patrick suggested, James is already criticized as being selfish. What would it have looked like for him to go the podium to accept an individual award while the Golden State Warriors were celebrating a team accomplishment?
Lebron Has Made 5 Straight NBA Finals Appearances
Even before the outcome of the NBA Finals, Lebron had already made history. He became the first player to make 5 straight NBA Finals appearances since Celtics great Bill Russell. The award would have been his third NBA Finals MVP. He won the award twice while he was a member of the Miami Heat.