As LeBron James continues the toughest championship run of his career, the Los Angeles Lakers star just unleashed the NBA’s worst nightmare. Despite putting together another excellent season, the four-time MVP did not add a fifth trophy to his collection. With voters snubbing the biggest threat to Michael Jordan’s GOAT title, the 35-year-old now has even more motivation to completely take over the rest of the 2020 NBA playoffs. And based on his track record, a motivated LeBron James is the league’s worst nightmare.
LeBron James played at an MVP level this season
Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could slow down LeBron James this season. Once again, the dynamic forward displayed his elite skills while guiding the Lakers to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. Though he shot just 49.3% from the field—his lowest mark since the 2014-15 season—James proved he can dominate a game with his other abilities. He averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and a league-leading 10.2 assists in 67 regular-season games.
Of course, putting up monster numbers is nothing new for the man who has earned MVP honors on four occasions. Since entering the league as the No. 1 pick in 2003, James has finished in the top-five in MVP voting 14 times. He finished in second place three times, including the 2017-18 season.
Only that would not be the last time James found himself in the runner-up position.
LeBron just unleashed the NBA’s worst nightmare in ominous tweet
On the same day the Lakers kicked off their Western Conference finals series against the Denver Nuggets, the league announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo won the NBA MVP award for the second straight season. The Milwaukee Bucks superstar also won Defensive Player of the Year honors this year.
In speaking with the media after the Lakers’ 126-114 win, James officially unleashed the NBA’s worst nightmare with his comments about getting snubbed in the MVP voting.
“Pissed me off. That’s my true answer,” James said. “It pissed me off, because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes. That’s what pissed me off more than anything. I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship, and now four times as MVP.”
He later made reference to the voting results in an ominous tweet that ended with “Ok cool! I got y’all.”
Reading between the lines, it certainly seems like the Lakers star has big plans ahead to prove voters wrong. After finishing in third place in the MVP vote in 2015-16, he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title. With added motivation thanks to his latest MVP snub, a locked-and-loaded LeBron James just became the NBA’s worst nightmare. If he can harness the hyper-competitive focus that has made him a three-time champion, that spells bad news for the Nuggets.
A motivated James will lead the Lakers to an NBA title
Based on his tone and comments about his latest NBA MVP snub, Lakers fans should expect to see the version of LeBron James that general manager Rob Pelinka spoke about just before the playoffs began.
That represents a nightmare scenario for a Denver team that could not contain James or Anthony Davis Friday night. The former chipped in 15 points to go along with 12 assists and six rebounds in just 31 minutes. Meanwhile, Davis thoroughly dominated on the offensive end of the floor. The gifted big man led all scorers with 37 points on 12-of-21 shooting. Davis also collected 10 rebounds and dished out four assists in the Game 1 victory.
Moving forward, the Lakers should stamp their ticket to the NBA finals now that MVP voters just put a sizable chip on LeBron James’ hulking shoulders. LA simply has too many scoring options and will always feature the best two players on the floor.
LeBron may have finished in second place in MVP voting, but that won’t happen when it comes time to hand out the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
Beware, Nuggets fans.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference