Before the league suspension, LeBron James led LA Lakers were clearly one of the favorites for the NBA Championship. LeBron played some of his best matches before this abrupt pause in the league.
James blasted out the two other NBA Favourites before the suspension. His exploits include 37 points, 8 rebounds and assists against Eastern Conference leaders Bucks and 28 points, 8 rebounds & 9 assists against Kawhi Leonard’s LA Clippers. These matches were probably the best that James ever played for the Lakers. Since All-Star, James has been gearing up with his performances. He has won back to back Western Conference Player of the month since January.
But were those matches and form good enough for LeBron to dethrone Giannis Antetokounmpo from his MVP supremacy this year?
The clear cut answer to this question is no. Despite LeBron getting the best of two top teams, he still can’t match the exploits of Giannis. Giannis Antetokounmpo has literally led Milwaukee Bucks to top of their conference while topping all offensive and defensive stats of the team & league.
This notion has also been backed by ESPN’s survey of 70 media members.
In a survey of 70 media members who cover the league, Antetokounmpo was the clear leader in MVP balloting, earning 60 of the 70 possible first-place votes to open a commanding lead over James, who had an equally commanding lead over the rest of the field.
Antetokounmpo led the way with 670 of a possible 700 points, as he was listed in second place behind James on the 10 ballots where he wasn’t listed first. James, meanwhile, was second with 514 points, and was either first or second on 68 of the 70 submitted ballots, finishing third on one and fourth on another.
LeBron James led LA Lakers still favorite for NBA Championship
This season, Antetokounmpo has averaged 29.6 points per game on 54.7% shooting from the field. Currently, he is only the second player after Wilt Chamberlain to average 29 points per game on 50% shooting from the field, all this while averaging 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Opponents on the court are also shooting at 9.7% worse against Giannis than they would normally expect to based on where they shot from.
Despite all those scary stats from Giannis, LA Lakers are still looking favorites to win the championship. The main reason why the Lakers are more suitable for winning the NBA is because of players’ fluidity, resilience, and experience among them to handle the pressure of big matches. And with LeBron coming into top form, all things look in sync for the west coast side.
Milwaukee Bucks Flaws
Opposite to Lakers, Bucks’ success clearly centers around the ‘Greek Freek’. And this has been proven by teams like Miami Heat continuously, this season. Like, on March 3rd, Miami swarmed Giannis and forced him to play in a crowd, and in doing so they held him to 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting. This performance revealed the Antetokounmpo’s imperfections i.e as we all know the inability to shoot from 3 point line. This disaster performance by Giannis also led to the loss of Milwaukee Bucks 89-105 against Miami.
And no that’s not about just one loss because Miami has already beaten the Bucks twice this season (only team in the league to do so). Miami has achieved this by using their defensive assets carefully around Giannis. This proves the theory that Giannis still looks like a player for whom you can plan.
This assertion is also the result of the previous year Eastern playoffs final. Notably, Toronto Raptors being 2-0 down in series deployed Kawhi Leonard as the primary defender of Giannis which did wonders for the Canadian team. As they won the next 4 games in a row and went to NBA finals with empathic 4-2 victory.
But on the other hand, the Lakers got big game changers like LeBron James and Anthony Davis in their squad. No one can possibly plan against this duo because players like these can do everything from 3 pointers to defense. They know it all. Apart from these two, players like Danny Green and Dwight Howard also have much experience under their belt.
Lakers, if they go against Bucks in the final, will have upper hand in the battle. Just because of the sheer number of assets that they could deploy to dismantle the Milwaukee Juggernaut.