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LeBron James Runs Away With MVP

It’s LeBron James’ sixth year in the NBA, and it somehow seems overdue that he’s just finally winning an MVP trophy.

And yet, have we really been waiting this long? Only two other players have ever won this shiny trophy while being younger: Wes Unseld in ’68-’69 (23 years old) and Moses Malone ten years after that (24 years, 16 days).

The numbers were there (28.4 points/game, 7.6 rebounds/game, 7.2 assists/game, 1.7 steals/game, 1.1 blocks/game), but that wasn’t the whole story, because, except for free throw percentage (78%) and 3-point field goal percentage (34%), he really didn’t improve much in any particular category. (One could make a solid argument that last year’s numbers were better.)

Finally The MVP

Year-by-year results of James in the MVP ballot race:

2003-04: 9th … 11/1230 points
04-05: 6th … 93/1270 points
05-06: 2nd … 688/1250 points (16 of 125 first place votes)
06-07: 5th … 183/1290 points
07-08: 4th … 438/1260 points (1 of 126 first place votes)
08-09: 1st … 1172/1210 points (109 of 121 first place votes)

But it went beyond the numbers this year. Bill Simmons concocted perhaps the most unwavering argument for James as the MVP (end of article): “Only nine teams won 66-plus games and the title … each of those teams had at least two HALL OF FAMERS.”
The best non-LeBron players on the Cavaliers are Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. They’re good players (three combined All-Star games), but certainly not great. This led into another one of his points about how James’ improved by leaps and bounds as a teammate.

James’ 109 first-place votes distanced himself from Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, who finished two-three in the voting. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul were the only other players to pick up first-place votes.

Oh, and one guy put LeBron James third on his ballot. Nobody knows why.

The MVP trophy will be presented at LeBron’s high school, St. Vincent’s-St. Mary’s in Akron, Ohio. Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Atlanta Hawks begins Tuesday night.

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