The Los Angeles Lakers started the year off hot. Unfortunately, an injury to Anthony Davis derailed their chance at regular season dominance.
Currently, LA sits at No. 3 in a conference where third place and seventh place are separated by a mere four games. Given that the Lakers are also currently on a four-game losing streak, there’s a very good chance that the team won’t end up with the sort of regular season mark many thought they might.
Early on, LeBron James was one of two favorites for this year’s MVP award. It was a two-man race between him and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, whom he coincidentally gave lingering back problems to due to an egregiously dirty play.
The Lakers’ recent losing streak has pushed a lot of people into the Embiid for MVP camp.
In an interview with Bill Oram of The Athletic, Davis got brutally honest about his teammate’s viability as a legitimate MVP candidate this year.
“Put it to you like this,” Davis said.
“I know that that man does not care about MVP awards. He cares about championships. So if he loses the MVP and wins the championship like he did last year, he doesn’t care. So that’s what his mindset is, he’s not focused on MVPs. He’s focused on Finals MVPs.”
Obviously the season is still relatively young and things could change rapidly, but if it keeps going on this track, it’s hard to see James winning the MVP award. Particularly when Embiid is playing lights out basketball while also guiding his group to the top record in the East.
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The lower echelon of the MVP race top five is filled with players like Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry, who are having superb seasons on struggling teams. So long as the Lakers keep losing, James will find himself closer to that group than to Embiid.
Of course, if the Lakers do ultimately end up landing one of the two big men they’ve been targeting to temporarily replace Davis’ production, they could turn the season around and pump some life back into James’ MVP hopes.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.