LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Joel Embiid are the MVP favorites at the current juncture of the 2020-21 season. The LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers each look like title contenders by playing elite on both ends of the floor.
Leonard and Embiid have never won an MVP award, while James is a four-time MVP. On a recent episode of “First Take” on ESPN, Max Kellerman made a case for Embiid to be the MVP.
That’s when LeBron’s most prominent defender at ESPN took a shot at Leonard–Kellerman’s favorite player–while praising The King.
LeBron James is the greatest 36-year-old superstar of all time
LeBron James is in his 18th season in the NBA and 36-years-old. However, the four-time champion is still the best player in the world, which makes him the greatest 36-year-old superstar in NBA history.
In 25 games for the Lakers this season, James is averaging 25.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists while shooting 49.7% from the field, 39.8% from beyond the arc, and 71.5% from the free-throw line. He’s playing a career-low 34.5 minutes per game and still putting up stellar numbers.
Along with his 11 double-doubles, James has three triple-doubles. The Lakers are 19-6 and in second place in the Western Conference standings. Most pundits expect the Lakers and Clippers to meet in the 2021 Western Conference Finals.
Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid are having remarkable seasons, but Kendrick Perkins, a LeBron James stan, believes The Chosen One is the MVP. The former NBA player, who works for ESPN, insists LeBron’s dominance on offense and defense puts him ahead of Embiid and that the future Hall of Famer is a better defender than Leonard despite being older.
Kendrick Perkins tells Max Kellerman that 36-year-old LeBron James is a better defender than Kawhi Leonard
Kendrick Perkins is a huge LeBron James fan. The former NBA center played with LBJ on the Cleveland Cavaliers and believes James is the greatest player in NBA history.
Meanwhile, Max Kellerman is a big Kawhi Leonard fan. He chose Leonard and the Clippers to win the title last season, only to watch James and the Lakers win it over the Miami Heat.
While discussing who the 2020-21 MVP is so far, Perkins took a shot at Leonard by saying James–despite being 36–is a better defender than the Clippers forward. It was a bold statement, considering Leonard is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Leonard is universally recognized as a superior defender than James. However, to his credit, LeBron is playing high-level defense this season for the Lakers, who have the second-best defense in the NBA. The Purple and Gold are giving up only 104.9 points per game.
The Clippers choked against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2020 playoffs, which prevented NBA fans from getting the Kawhi Leonard-LeBron James matchup in the Western Conference Finals. Hopefully, both LA teams take care of business in the 2021 postseason and meet each other in the conference finals.
Kawhi Leonard is under more pressure than LBJ to win a title this season
Kawhi Leonard signed a max contract with the Clippers in the summer of 2019 and recruited Paul George to request a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder. After choking versus the Nuggets in the 2020 Western Conference Semifinals, the two-time Finals MVP is under immense pressure to win a title this season.
The Clippers franchise has never made it to the NBA Finals. LeBron James already won a championship in LA, so he’s got the monkey off his back.
All eyes this season are on Leonard to see if he can deliver the goods.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.