NBA Rumors: LeBron James Could’ve Been ‘Sentimental Favorite’ To Win MVP If He Didn’t Get Hurt, Says NBA Exec

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on March 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

As the 2019 NBA playoffs draw near, the debate regarding who deserves to win the Most Valuable Player award for the 2018-19 NBA season is starting to get more intense. As of now, several NBA players are being frequently mentioned to the MVP conversation. Per NBA.com, the top five frontrunners to win the MVP award include Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So far, it is still hard to say who will be named as the Most Valuable Player in the 2018-19 NBA season. However, according to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report, the MVP conversation might already be over had Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James not suffered a groin injury and missed 18 games due to it. One league executive who spoke to Bleacher Report believes that James would have been the “sentimental favorite” to win the MVP award if he didn’t get hurt this season.

“As long as he put up the numbers [this season], you could’ve seen the anti-LeBron bias go the other way,” the league executive said. “If he didn’t get hurt and got this Lakers team to the playoffs, he might have been the sentimental favorite. There might have been a desire on the part of the media to do right by him and make up for past wrongs.”

Other league executives shared the sentiment with one of them saying that James should be the “most valuable player” in the NBA every year.

“If the ‘V’ stands for valuable, you can make the case that LeBron is the most valuable player in the league every year, including this year,” the NBA executive said.

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Had he remained healthy throughout the 2018-19 NBA season and helped the Lakers reach the playoffs, James undeniably would have had a strong chance to win his fifth MVP award this year. However, unexpected things do happen even to the man who’s currently considered as the best basketball player in the world. As of now, James is focusing on bringing his body back to 100 percent shape before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season.

After missing the Western Conference Playoffs for the sixth straight year, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are expected to be more aggressive in finding superstars who could play alongside LeBron James next season. Aside from having the salary cap space to chase big names in free agency, the Lakers also have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal in the 2019 NBA offseason.