Would it be a huge surprise if LeBron James was to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the coming season?
Not necessarily. However, it should be far from expectation.
Yet in the annual NBA general managers’ survey, released earlier this week on NBA.com, it was revealed that 46.7% of GMs across the NBA believe that James will be the 2016/17 MVP.
Of course, it is not out of the realms of possibility that James could win the honour, but it is undoubtedly more unlikely than ever, although the four-time winner of the award is still one of the most consistent players in the league.
But James has moved on, with his focus bring solely on competing for titles, with any personal honours along the way coming as a bonus.
That is why it is so surprising to see James being touted as a favourite for the award, when he is likely to breeze through the regular season without breaking sweat in order to keep himself as fit as possible for playoff action next spring.
James averaged the lowest minutes per game of his career last season, something that will surely continue under Tyronn Lue this season, meaning LeBron will have even less time to fill the stat sheet as well as he has done throughout his entire career.
LeBron was also the worst three-point shooter in the NBA last season, something he may prefer to concentrate on, and while the fact he has not won the MVP award for the last three seasons may wrangle with him at times, he is smart enough to know it should not be his major focus.
Instead, LeBron’s teammate Kyrie Irving should be looking to stamp his authority on the Cleveland Cavaliers during the regular season, helping to release the pressure off James and allow him to take more of a back seat.
Irving had an incredibly impressive run in the second half of the season and throughout the playoffs, eventually hitting the three pointer to win the Cavs their first NBA title, and should be aiming to kick on and build up his own name even more.
LeBron should leave the scrapping over the MVP award to players who are still looking to prove themselves, such as Irving, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard – and to an extent even still Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.
King James, on the other hand, must continue to focus on NBA championship rings as he continues his career-long aim of catching Michael Jordan.