Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the NBA MVP wasn’t a big surprise to many people but that didn’t stop many from being upset LeBron James didn’t win. The Los Angeles Lakers star was excellent all year and helped turn a team around that hadn’t been in the playoffs for several years. LeBron has already done enough to prove he’s one of the best players of all-time but this loss could give him a lot of motivation.
According to David Fizdale, who was an assistant coach when LeBron was in Miami, the superstar is not going to take this loss lightly.
“He’s about to go off,” Fizdale said on ESPN’s First Take. “He does not deal with slight well. He turns slight into attack mode. After we lost to Dallas [2011 NBA Finals] that next year he came back with a vengeance. When Draymond Green called him something out of his name during the 2016 Finals when they were down 3-1, and how that woke him up.
“He just turns into a monster when he feels like he’s not getting respected. Not just Denver, watch out everybody because he’s about to turn it up to another level.”
LeBron was already playing at an elite level so the NBA should be very scared that he has even more motivation. Fizdale would know better than most how LeBron responds to adversity. It’s hard to imagine anybody is going to slow down the Lakers now.
LeBron Admittedly Upset About Losing
LeBron isn’t one to hide his feelings. He made it very clear how he felt about losing to Giannis.
“Pissed me off. That’s my true answer. It pissed me off, because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes. That’s what pissed me off more than anything,” James told reporters Friday.
“You know, not saying that the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP. But that pissed me off. And I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship and now four times as an MVP.”
LeBron obviously doesn’t think he got a fair shake. Giannis was amazing this year and the Bucks had the best record in the NBA. It’s hard to argue against him but there are plenty of people who believe LeBron had the better season.
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LeBron Still in the Hunt for Finals MVP
Regardless of who won the regular-season MVP, LeBron is still in the running to win Finals MVP while Giannis is back home. If the playoffs were factored into MVP votes, there’s no question LeBron would’ve won. The Bucks got beatdown by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs while the Lakers dominated the Houston Rockets.
Los Angeles looks like the best team in the NBA and has to be the easy favorites to win the championship. The only thing that could slow them down is a lack of motivation after dominating teams for most of the playoffs. With LeBron losing the MVP, the team now has more motivation to keep their eyes on the prize.
Follow Austin Boyd on Twitter: @austincjboyd