LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The NBA is reportedly closing in on a potential return to play plan, but for the time being players and fans alike are still waiting for game action to return. In basketball’s absence, that has led to a lot of conversation about who should win the normal year-end awards like Most Valuable Player.
For Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, the answer to that question is a familiar name who has led his team to the best record in the West.
“If you said either one I feel like nobody would have a problem with it. But, me personally, this season I think it’s LeBron,” said Lillard on ESPN’s Jalen and Jacoby show. “They’re the number one team in the West. They have been consistent all year long. And for him to be at the age he’s at with the amount of miles he has on his body, how often he’s talked about the pressure they put on him and every little thing that he does. And the level he’s performing at, in my opinion he’s the MVP. Number one in the West, leading the league in assists, he’s averaging 25-26, that’s super impressive man. I think this year, he’s the MVP of the league.
The argument between LeBron and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been bandied about since the pause of the season back in March. For Giannis, the reigning MVP was averaging career highs in points (29.6) and rebounds (13.7) per game while leading the Bucks to the best record in the league at 53-12.
As Lillard points out, James was leading the league in assists per game (10.6) prior to the pause while leading the Lakers to a 49-14 record and playing in 60 of the team’s 63 games. Giannis had played in 57 of his team’s 65 games. The numbers are close, though many had pegged Giannis as the likely winner of the award when the season paused. It will be interesting to see how the voting plays out once the league figures out how it will wrap up the 2019-20 season.
If James were to take home the hardware, it would be the fifth MVP award of his career tying him with Michael Jordan and leaving him one behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most MVP awards ever (6).