In the midst of another long winning streak, the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting pretty at the top of the Western Conference. Despite being 35 years old, LeBron James is in the midst of one of his most well-balanced years yet. He has his lowest scoring average since his rookie season, but he’s blowing away his best career assist average. He could be the best 35-year old in NBA history. That is unless you ask Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless.
Bayless is no stranger to outrageous takes, but he may have jumped the shark with his latest LeBron take.
Carmelo Anthony vs. Lebron James
Now, it’s easy to dismiss this take as just Bayless trying to stir the pot, but it’s very possible that he actually thinks Carmelo Anthony his having a better season than LeBron. It’s true that Carmelo has proven that he had more left in the tank than anybody would’ve thought heading into this season, but he’s only averaging a tad over 16 points a game, which is among the worst in his career.
While LeBron is also putting up one of the worst scoring outputs of his career, he’s still averaging over 25 points per game, which is still among the best in the NBA. He’s also leading the league in assist per game. That isn’t even mentioning that Carmelo’s team, the Portland Trail Blazers, is extremely disappointing this season and is currently the 10th seed in the Western Conference with a 16-22 record.
There really isn’t an argument here as LeBron is clearly having the better season and making a case to win another MVP award. Carmelo hitting some game-winners and still being relevant is a good story, but his presence hasn’t translated to win for Portland. LeBron is still arguably the best overall player in the NBA.
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Lebron 2nd in MVP Rankings, per CBS
On his quest to be only the third 35-year old to win the MVP, LeBron has proven he has a real shot at getting the award for the fifth time in his career. According to CBS Sports, he is second to Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks in the MVP rankings. Here’s what they had to say about LeBron:
The Lakers are plus-7.4 points per 100 possessions when Anthony Davis is on the floor, and plus-7.7 when he’s off, which is to say, at least statistically, they don’t fluctuate with or with[out] him. Without LeBron, however, the Lakers fall off a cliff, going from plus-12.2 when he’s on to minus-4.5 when he’s off. That’s almost a 17-point swing per 100 possessions depending on whether LeBron is playing.
That’s an MVP.
Anthony Davis has been everything the Lakers hoped for when they traded for him and more. CBS has him fifth in the MVP rankings, so it’s not like there’s a significant difference between LeBron and him. There’s no doubt the team needs both players healthy if they’re going to go on a legitimate championship run. However, both players need to keep up with the dominant play if they hope to pass Giannis in the MVP race.