LeBron James is in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career. All of his major stats are ahead of his career averages. Questions in the preseason about LeBron possibly slowing down have been slashed. LeBron is shooting the ball like a madman, and playing better than anyone thought possible. While LeBron’s name is thrown around in MVP consideration every year, does he have a legitimate shot to win it this year?

LeBron should not win MVP

The current frontrunners for MVP are Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James.

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Some of the dark-horses for the MVP race are the league’s reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook, Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan, and “The Brow” Anthony Davis. Currently, it would seem that James Harden is clearly in the lead of the MVP race.

There is no doubt that Harden is having a great career, and is blowing out everyone’s predictions of how he’d perform this year. Although Harden has a slight lead in several categories over LeBron James, is he the clear player to beat for the MVP? According to the website Basketball Reference, Harden has a 69.5 percent chance to win the MVP currently, while LeBron only has an 11.8 percent chance. Yet Harden has some glaring mistakes on his 2017-18 résumé. While obviously, the head of those concerns is his inability to play defense, a few other faults plague Harden.

No one doubts Harden’s scoring ability, Harden is shooting at a percentage of 45.1, while LeBron is shooting at a percentage of 55.8. This begs the question, “does Harden care more about racking up points than being an effective scorer?” Harden also has several more resources than LeBron.

A lights-out shooter in Eric Gordon, a rebounding and inside machine in Clint Capela, one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, and a solid three-point shooter and defender in Trevor Ariza.

While the Cleveland Cavaliers definitely have their weapons, LeBron has been working with Jose Calderon, a mediocre point guard at best, Jae Crowder, who offers some solid defense but besides that, not much else, Kevin Love, who quite honestly, is having an amazing season, and J.R. Smith, who provides some veteran experience, but is definitely on the downward slide of his career. Derrick Rose has again been plagued with injury, and it is too early into Isaiah Thomas’s return to be able to tell how he’ll perform (although it is hard to argue that he won’t be a significant improvement from Jose Calderon).

Basically, LeBron is carrying his team. From a rough start early in the season, to a solid turnaround as of recent. Although currently third in the East, many people, including myself, believe the Cavaliers will still come out of the Eastern Conference.

So, after all this, why am I saying LeBron won’t win MVP this year, or any other year in the future?

Simply for the fact that he has been taken for granted. LeBron’s name is constantly thrown around in MVP consideration every year, but he usually ranks somewhere from third to fifth in the MVP race. LeBron has basically become commonplace now. He is expected to carry his team, and that is what he does. He’s having an amazing season, but his name isn’t new. It is strange to me that I can ask people, “who is the best player in the league?” and they’ll respond, “LeBron James,” but when I ask, “who will win MVP this year?” they’ll respond with, “James Harden/Kyrie Irving/others not named LeBron James.”

People, and I’m one of them, like to see the league get shaken up a bit; they like to see new faces. A perfect case of this was Stephen Curry winning the MVP in the 2015-16 season. Did Curry have an incredible season? Of course. No one disputes that. Yet, was it worthy of becoming the first ever unanimous MVP, with someone named LeBron James not getting a single first-place vote? Not even close. While I was happy to see Curry win and I do think his season warranted MVP, was he the best player in the league? No. LeBron James was, and I believe, still is.

Unfortunately for LeBron, there is little more he can do than what he hasn't already done. He has improved his three-point game significantly, and every single stat this year is up from his career average. LeBron is and will continue to be the best player in the league, at least for the next little while. Still, new faces will continue to excite fans, as they should. There is nothing wrong with this, it just simply means LeBron will never be a legitimate contender for MVP again.

Will this take away anything from his amazing career? Of course not. He will always be immortalized as one of the best players ever, and probably the best small forward of all-time. The MVP award will never touch his hands again, but LeBron is a winner, and he cares about more than an award that reflects one player, rather than a team.