Kuzma took to Twitter to voice his displeasure about awards season, backing James for the NBA MVP.
“Yo media, imma tell y’all this. If y’all mess up this MVP like you did the DPOY,” Kuzma wrote on a video of James’ playoff highlights. “We gonna have issues fr.”
Yo media, imma tell y’all this. If y’all mess up this MVP like you did the DPOY. We gonna have issues fr. https://t.co/WdAOWF5tVt
— kuz (@kylekuzma) September 9, 2020
The odds indicate that Kuzma will have a problem. Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is the heavy favorite to win at -3300. James is second at +650, followed by Houston Rockets guard and former MVP James Harden (+6600), per Odds Shark.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Has Case for Regular Season Awards
Antetokounmpo also topped Davis for the Defensive Player of the Year honor last week. Davis finished the season ranked third in blocks (143), second in defensive rating (101.8), second in defensive win shares (4.4) and third in defensive box plus-minus.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has been vocal that he believes Davis is the DPOY and reiterated that this week following some big defensive efforts from his star forward against the Rockets’ small-ball lineup.
“The way we need to play against this team, if we’re going to double the way we did, you’ve got to have big guys that can scramble and guard on the perimeter and have mobility,” Vogel told reporters. “In my mind [AD] is Defensive Player of the Year. No disrespect to Giannis, but he just covers so much ground, and if you have smaller guys around him, you can just cover more ground.”
The awards are for the regular season, where Antetokounmpo once again put up mind-boggling numbers. In just over 30 minutes per game, the reigning MVP averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He also showed off an improved 3-point stroke and provided his usual defensive presence.
The MVP is the only award that hasn’t been announced. Antetokounmpo’s Bucks were recently bounced from the playoffs, falling to the Miami Heat 4-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
In Year 17 of his career, James led the NBA in assists at 10.2 per game. He also scored 25.3 points and hauled in 7.8 rebounds.
“Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James,” Vogel said after the Lakers won Game 3 on Tuesday against the Rockets and James became the all-time leader in playoff wins. “That’s true for this season. That’s why he should be MVP. Honestly, it’s probably true in the history of the game. Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James. To see him have that actual numerical statistic is just indicative of that.”
LeBron James Not Motivated by MVP
As much as he’d like to add another MVP trophy to his mantle, James admitted early on in the bubble that the NBA’s top award is nothing something that motivates him.
“Regular season MVP has never motivated me,” James told reporters. “To be the best to ever play the game has motivated me and it’s resulted in me being able to be league MVP a couple of times.”
That being said, James was happy to prove a point to his haters that he could dominate in the Western Conference. The Lakers were the No. 1 seed in the West this year.
"Regular season MVP has never motivated me. … to be the best to ever play the game has motivated me and it’s resulted in me being able to be league MVP a couple of times.”
LeBron says being the greatest ever is what motivates him. pic.twitter.com/c8J9TQBHV9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 5, 2020
“As far as the MVP race I think I’ve shown what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “Not only individually, but from a team perspective with us being No. 1 in the West. There was a lot of conversation about ‘LeBron can do those things in the East but if he ever came to the West what can he do?’ I heard all of that, and to be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way we were playing at the time and the way I was playing, that’s definitely a good feeling.”