There are two games left in the NBA Finals and the Golden State Warriors lead the series 3-2 the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Game 6 is Tuesday night in Cleveland. If the Warriors win, they will cap off an outstanding season by winning the NBA title. If the Cavs are victorious, Game 7 will be Friday night in Oakland, with the winner being able to hoist the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The outcomes of the next two games — and the series, in general — is unknown right now. The Warriors seemingly have momentum on their side after winning the last two games by double digits. However with Game 6 at home for two-time NBA champion LeBron James and the Cavs, it will not be a cakewalk for the Warriors.
But in my opinion, there is one thing that is known about these NBA Finals: LeBron is the NBA Finals MVP — regardless of which team is crowned champion. Yes, even if the Cavs lose, the award should still be his.
Since 1969, the first year the Finals MVP was given out, a player on the losing team has won it only once — Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1969.
Media members are responsible for voting on the award and I have this message for them: make LeBron the second.
The world has known for the last few seasons that he is the best basketball player in the world — actually, following a Game 5 loss, LeBron even said himself that he is still confident about the series because he’s “the best player in the world.” However, his greatness has been elevated to extreme levels during the Finals.
Without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the Wine and Gold’s second- and third-leading scorers during the regular season, who are sidelined due to injury, LeBron has dragged the Cavaliers to Game 6.
For the series, The Chosen One is averaging 36.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists. He has scored 40 points three times.
In the history of the NBA Finals, there have been five games in which a player has recorded at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. LeBron has three of those five so far in this series.
Pundits will point to LeBron’s 20-point performance during Game 4 as a weak spot, but in that game he still had a triple-double.
He is doing everything for his team.
He is bringing the ball up the floor, like a point guard would. He has been the go-to player in the post, like a center or power forward would.
The Warriors were the league’s best during the regular season and boast the regular season MVP, Stephen Curry. Even if the Cavaliers had Love and Irving, the Warriors probably would have been favored to win the championship.
LeBron’s supporting cast during this Finals is nothing more than a bunch of hardworking, inconsistent role players.
He has put the supporting cast on his back and carried them further than many — including myself — thought they could go.
What would happen if you took LeBron off the Cavs and had them play the Warriors? Total annihilation. They would get swept, no question.
On the contrary, what would happen if you took any player, including Curry, off the Warriors and had them square off against the current Cavs? Most likely a competitive series, in which the Cavs would probably prevail in six games.
That is the difference.
Without LeBron, the Cavs have no chance at ending Cleveland’s 51-year title drought. Without Curry, the Warriors still might have a chance at capturing the franchise’s first title since 1975.
LeBron has been Hope Diamond-valuable to his team during the Finals. Even if they lose, it does not change his value or take away the levels of greatness he has soared to during the series.
If I had to bet — based on the way the two squads have looked in during Games 4 and 5 of the series — I would bet on the Warriors being the team hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
However, even though his team might not be victorious, I would still bet on LeBron — deservingly — being named Finals MVP.