2006 NBA MVP Candidate - LeBron James

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Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
James’ Cavaliers’ have clinched their first trip to the playoffs since the 1997-98 season and home court advantage for the first round. The team has 47 wins with five more games to play in the regular season. He has become known throughout the league for his unselfish play and elevating the play of his team collectively, while also authoring one of the most historic seasons ever by an individual player. In other words, he is the "perfect storm" on the court.

Here is some compelling evidence in support of LeBron James being the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (all stats as of April 18):

  • Has posted 49 games of 30 or more points and 10 games of 40 or more points on the season.

  • Has led or tied for the team lead in points in 72 games, rebounds 18 times, assists 59 times and steals 35 times.

  • Has scored the winning points (the points that gave Cleveland its final lead) in the fourth quarter or OT in 10 games this season.

  • Is averaging 15.7 points in the second halves of games this season and has posted second halves of 20 or more points in 23 games including four games of 30 or more points in the second half. In the fourth quarter of games this season, James is averaging 7.7 points and has scored 15 or more points in the fourth quarter on 11 occasions.

  • Is ranked second in the NBA in triple-doubles with five. In those games, the Cavaliers are 5-0 and in his 9 career triple-doubles, Cleveland is a perfect 9-0.

  • Has led Cleveland in points, rebounds and assists in the same game a league-high 16 times this season.

  • Leads the league in ‘and 1” plays – plays in which a player makes a field goal while being fouled and makes the following free throw attempt.

  • Is the one of just two players in the NBA (other being Shawn Marion) to have made at least 100 three-pointers and put up 100 dunks on the season.

  • Leads or is second in three of the most commonly used statistical analyses of player efficiency:

    John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Ranking
    1. LeBron James – 28.18
    2. Dirk Nowtizki – 28.16
    3. Kobe Bryant – 27.93
    4. Dwyane Wade – 27.68
    5. Kevin Garnett – 26.88

    82games.com Roland Rating (As of 3/27)
    1. LeBron James – 16.8
    2. Dwyane Wade – 16.7
    3. Kobe Bryant – 14.6
    4. Elton Brand – 12.7
    5. Yao Ming – 12.6

    NBA Efficiency Ranking
    1. Kevin Garnett – 30.3
    2. LeBron James – 29.4
    3. Shawn Marion – 28.8
    4. Elton Brand – 28.5
    5. Kobe Bryant – 27.8

  • Ranks second in the NBA’s efficiency ranking (29.4), third in scoring (31.4), sixth in free throws made (601), 12th in assists (6.6) and 15th in steals per game (1.56). He also leads the NBA in points in the paint.

  • As of April 11th, 2006, James has made 19 of 29 field-goal attempts this season in the last two minutes of a one-possession game (66 percent). No other player with at least 25 attempts has made more than half of them. Derek Fisher ranks second at 50 percent (13-for-26). (Courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau).

  • Is in the midst of a critical stretch of 10 games where he has scored 32 or more points in 10 consecutive games. He scored 35 or more in nine straight games from March 22 – April 10 becoming just the third player since 1970 (Michael Jordan - 10 in 1986 and Kobe Bryant - 13 in 2003) to have nine or more straight games of 35 or more points In those nine games, James averaged 38.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists. The last player to post at least those averages during a nine-game span was Oscar Robertson during the 1964-65 season.

  • Named the youngest NBA All-Star Game MVP this season after posting 29 points and six rebounds in the Eastern Conference’s 122-120 win.

  • Became the first player in NBA history to be named the Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks on his way to winning the award five times this season. He is also the first player since the 02-03 season (Bryant and Duncan) to win the weekly honor five or more times.

  • James was also named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for November and March this season. He is the only player to win the monthly honor more than once this season.


    WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT JAMES:

    Paul Pierce – “He is their team leader. If he goes, they go. He did a good job of mixing it up and finding other guys. They did the necessary things to get the win.”

    Gregg Popovich – “He was fantastic. That’s why he’s one of the best players in the league who is going to have a hall of fame career. Everything has already been said (on James), I don’t think I can add to it. He’s a great one.”

    Larry Brown – “I don’t know how you guard him. The only thing we kept saying was, if he’s going to make jump shots with a hand up, you’re not going to have any success with him anyway. He’s getting better and better and better.”

    Tayshaun Prince – “The thing about it is, if you keep him out of the paint, then that means you have to sag off your man, and he’s probably No. 1 in the league as far as finding open men. So, if you want to keep him out of the paint, you’ve got to sag in, and he finds guys. It’s kind of pick and choose your poison with him as far as do you want to contain him, let him shoot outside shots or let him penetrate and get help.”

    Andres Nocioni – “I tried to defend him. It’s hard because he’s a great player. I think he’s the best offensive player in the league and it’s difficult for me and for everybody. We need help every time because he can make shots over you.”

    Shaquille O’Neal – “He hit a lot of tough shots. He’s a great player and all great players do that.”

    Pat Riley – “At times, you’re helpless. When he’s raising on you and freezing you with the dribble and making four or five in a row, it’s sort of a helpless feeling.”

    Doc Rivers – “Yeah, he’s good. He’s a good player, makes shots, does everything. He really does. I think the difference in him now than even last year, is that he keeps his teammates involved. He scores 36 in the flow. If he was selfish, he could have had 50 tonight. But, they may have lost if he had done that. And, I think he is starting to understand that. That’s what makes him such a great player. The guy is in his third year of his career—to be able to understand the game and the way he understands the game at this age, is phenomenal. He should coach.”

    Lawrence Frank – "He shares the ball for three and a half quarters and in the last six minutes turns it up. He’s phenomenal…As great as people made him out to be, I don't think people understood how special he would be this young. The strides he has made are unbelievable and they are unbelievable because he is so unselfish…Over the last five games he has averaged 40 points, but he also leads them with assists. The scary thing is he's now consistently making shots from long range and we're not even talking about what he does in transition. It's like a freight train when he gets a head of steam…He's going to finish as the fourth guy in the history of the league to average 30 points, seven [rebounds] and six assists. The others were The Big O [Oscar Robertson], Jerry West, Michael Jordan, pretty good. You do whatever you can to keep him out of the paint, some looks you want to give him, but there's no one defense for greatness…It's unbelievable, it really is. He is the total, total package. Plus he plays every minute of the game. And he's 21. I mean, c'mon."

    Vince Carter - "He’s a great player. He shares the ball for 3½ quarters and in the last six minutes he turns it up. He’s phenomenal."

    Jason Kidd - "That was a heck of a shot. He's strong. It was an MVP play and performance on his part. It was just a great play."

    Richard Jefferson - “He's so unselfish, and he does so much. They're going to play through him constantly. He gets everyone else going. Not many guys average 30 and they say, 'He's unselfish.' But that shows the type of respect that he has (earned), just from everyone on his team and in the league."