As of yesterday, we have officially gone through a full season's length of time since the last NBA game was played. The wait is finally over, and as of tomorrow, NBA basketball is back. Well, NBA restart scrimmages. But we'll take what we can get.
Three months ago, this seemed like a reach, as very few have seen it as a realistic scenario. But kudos to the NBA; their bubble experiment is working. In fact, its latest round of testing produced zero positive COVID-19 cases. Information like that sure gives us the reason to be optimistic.
We've already covered how the bubble works, and we're keeping up-to-date as new information become available. To be fair, there hasn't been any significant news regarding the bubble lately. Unless you want to know who's the league's beer-chugging champion? Let me save you some time - it's Meyers Leonard.
However, a few days ago, new information did occur, and they're individual awards related. The NBA has announced that "none of the seeding games will be taken into consideration for any postseason award, and that voting for those honors -- such as All-NBA, Kia Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year -- will be completed before the July 30 restart of the season at Walt Disney World." It means that races for NBA individual awards are over.
While some awards are locked up, the MVP race is still on. And while most will pick Giannis as the award winner, there's still some who'll try to make a case for LeBron winning it. And among those is the Lakers' superstar himself.
“I'm not disappointed because things happen. Control what you can control, and I can't control that. As far as the MVP race, I've shown what I'm capable of doing, not only individually but from a team perspective. There was a lot of conversation about, 'LeBron can do those things in the East, but if he ever came to the West, what can he do?' I heard all of that. To be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way that we were playing at that time and the way I was playing, that's definitely a good feeling.”
You got to give it up for LeBron, as he's had a terrific regular-season up to March 11. But let's face it, it won't be enough to bring him another MVP trophy. There's a clear winner, and it's The Greek Freak.
But there's something else I took away from his statement. It's the ultimate evidence that LeBron hears the outside noise, and he pays a lot of attention to it. All the East-West comments sure didn't come from inside the locker room. It's been LeBron centered topic for years, and it's obvious James hasn't been immune to it.
And no LeBron, you still didn't prove you can do it in the West. Those critics were never about the regular-season. It's another take-away from his statement - the misinterpretation of the criticism he gets. Not making the playoffs in the first year, and having a great regular-season proves nothing. When it's time for the playoffs, it's on James to refute the criticism. And if he's able to do it, it'll do wonders for his legacy. He'll step away from the image of a guy who was only dominant in the weaker conference. It's something James obviously cares about, regardless of what he says.
This is something LeBron can control, and he should put all his eggs in that basket. His only focus should be the championship since Larry O'Brien is the only trophy The King might lift up this year. The MVP race is clearly over. It's Giannis, and it's not very close.