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NBA MVP Candidates

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/7/2013 7:24:53 PM

When people in the online sports betting legal community try to assess the NBA MVP field, they will not have to overthink the matter or try to bluff anyone else into buying their own opinion in a manner akin to online poker games. The MVP discussion in the NBA this season is one that really doesn’t need to last very long, if at all. Anyone who cares about sports, not just sports bettors or people interested in online football betting at this time of year, should realize that while many players have left their mark on this NBA season, there’s only one credible choice as the league’s most valuable player: LeBron James of the Miami Heat.

It was always said about LeBron as he made more and more of an imprint on the NBA that if he ever developed a lethally consistent long-range jump shot, he’d be pretty much unguardable. That’s what has happened this season. LeBron has polished the aspects of his skill set that needed another measure of development. His three-point shooting has improved, lifting his overall shooting percentage and thereby making it virtually impossible for defenders to challenge him on the wings.

The point to underscore about LeBron is that he is so strong and powerful, which makes it essential for defenses to clog the paint and take away his dribble-drive game. Denying access to the rim is the first and foremost priority for any team that faces James. Once LeBron gets within four feet of the rim, he will almost surely score or get fouled, putting an opponent in foul trouble and enabling the Heat to attack an opponent’s big men with even more vigor and relentlessness as a game goes on. Against LeBron, you have to play him for the jump shot, hoping that he’ll miss, but in the 2012-2013 season, James has not missed as much as he used to.

Why did the Miami Heat roll off 27 straight wins from Feb. 3 through March 25 before finally losing again on March 27 to the Chicago Bulls? LeBron simply lifted his game to historic levels. He went several games – more than a week in real time – without shooting below 60 percent from the field or scoring fewer than 30 points. His streak of 60-percent shooting efforts was broken, moreover, only because he took a silly 27-foot heave late in a game the Heat had already tucked away.

No player in the long and storied history of the NBA had done the things LeBron managed to do this past February and March. He has set a standard all his own, announcing himself as one of the elite players of his or any other generation. He is dominating the sport the way other top-tier players have done in past decades.

The only players who come close to LeBron in an MVP discussion are Carmelo Anthony, who has carried the New York Knicks on his back, and Kevin Durant, who has Oklahoma City poised to repeat as Western Conference champion. Tony Parker of San Antonio would probably be fourth on the list.

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