Yesterday wasn't a great day to be LeBron James. The basketball superstar has had a stellar two-decades-long career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. But while he may have been the top man for quite some time, this year's MVP (Most Valuable Player) rankings seem to suggest he may have hit his peak. For the first time since his inaugural season in 2003, the Laker failed to receive an MVP vote. Was this a surprise result, or could this outcome have been easily predicted? Here's everything there is to know.
On Tuesday night, the NBA MVP list was published. Joel Embiid, who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, came out on top, outranking the two-time reigning champion Nikola Jokic from the Denver Nuggets. This win also saw him overtaking Giannis Antetokounmpo, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. To make matters more impressive, it wasn't a small win either. The 76er earned 73 votes for the first-place position, while Jokić and Antetokounmpo won just 15 and 12, respectively.
So where does that leave Mr. James? Unfortunately, he is off the list entirely as he failed to earn even one vote for MVP for the first time in his 20-year NBA career. For the record, scoring one vote is not unheard of, as Knicks guard Jalen Brunson and Grizzlies player Ja Morant each earned one vote for fifth place. In James' NBA entry year, he landed ninth on the MVP ranking board. In the years since, he has always placed somewhere on the list, taking home the trophy on four occasions. His last MVP title was in 2013.
But could LeBron have ever truly been in the running for the award this season? If we examine his statistics and points for the past year, it seems it was clear he was never going to win. This past season he averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per game. Considering he's 38 years old, these numbers are astounding and clarify why he has been part of the MVP discussion for the past 20 years. That said, Embiid and Antetokounmpo far outscored him this season, and Jokić was 0.2 points away from a triple-double. Ultimately, it all came down to the numbers, and they speak for themselves.