Almost two decades of play in the NBA and LeBron James is still playing one of the three best players in the league. He’s led the Los Angeles Lakers to the top seed in the Western Conference and is hoping to bring a championship to a third different franchise. It’s unprecedented how good he still is at his age.
Unfortunately, LeBron’s reign at the top can’t last forever. There are many great young players in the NBA who just keep getting better and better. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks seems to be the guy to take the mantle of the best player in the NBA. This year’s MVP race is a two-man race between Giannis and LeBron. One coach shared a bleak reality for the latter.
“Giannis is going to win [MVP] six more times,” a Western Conference coach (not Frank Vogel) told Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “This might be LeBron’s last chance, and he deserves it, and he’s in the West. When he was in the East all those years, everybody said the East was weak. Well, now, Giannis is in the East. I don’t know, you can’t go wrong with either choice.”
LeBron has won the award four times but hasn’t won it since 2013. An argument could be made that he has deserved the award at least a couple more times.
Passing the Torch to Giannis
There are plenty of candidates to take LeBron’s spot as the best player in the NBA. Kevin Durant seemed like the logical next man up for a while but he’s been hampered by injuries. It’s hard to know how he’ll look when he returns. Kawhi Leonard has done a lot to prove that he should be in the conversation but the fact that he limits the number of regular-season games he plays is always going to hurt him.
Right now, Giannis seems like the most likely player to become the face of the NBA. He’s dominant, his team wins and he’s got a lot of marketability. If he can get over the hump and win a title without having to join a superteam, that will catapult cement his spot as the best player in the NBA. He has the potential to go down as one of the 10 best players ever.
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Insider Gives Unique Insight on 1st Scrimmage Game
The Lakers just recently finished up their first scrimmage game against the Dallas Mavericks. While the game did end in a loss, the team looked great through the first half of the game. Vardon gave some insight on how LeBron was acting during the contest:
LeBron chastised himself. He missed a stepback 3 over Boban Marjanovic, and said “oh you stink” as he ran down the court. Just before the half ended, LeBron threw down a nasty dunk in transition, and on his way back told Boban: “I’m still the fastest man out here.” And when LeBron threw a lob that Howard caught for a dunk, LeBron bellowed “aggggghhhhhhhh” almost before Howard dunked it. LeBron was full of jokes while seated next to Anthony Davis (who also scored 12 points in the first half, and then took the rest of the night off) in the second half, but the Laker bench was too far away from my seat.