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LeBron James expected to be named NBA MVP for third time

Scott Levin's picture

He may play with two other high-profile players, but that apparently won't prevent LeBron James from winning his third NBA MVP trophy Saturday.

Multiple news outlets, including ESPN, are reporting that James will be announced as the winner of this year's most valuable player award at a news conference Saturday. It marks the third time James will be honored. The superstar also took home the prize during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

It was yet another impressive statistical season for the Heat forward. James finished third in the NBA with 27.1 points per game, chipped in a career-high 7.9 rebounds per game and dished out 6.2 assists per contest, good for 13th in the league. James also shot 53.1 percent (11th in the NBA) and averaged 1.9 steals per game (3rd in the NBA).

The standout performance by James earned him his 8th All-Star selection and two player of the month awards in January and February. Miami posted a 46-20 record thanks in large part to James' production.

Clearly, James has established himself as an MVP candidate every season. But there are some arguments against James' selection as the NBA's most valuable player.

For one, James is joined by two stars on the Heat, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Increasingly over the past few years, the term "valuable" has been highlighted in the award, and critics will say that even if you removed James from the Heat roster, the team would still be playoff caliber. This brings into question his true value as compared to other stars who carry a heavier load.

Additionally, this season featured a plethora of other MVP-worthy performances. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant led the NBA in scoring and propelled the Thunder to a 47-19 record. Chris Paul helped turn the Clippers from a 32-50 lottery team to a 40-26 championship contender. Spurs point guard Tony Parker has been lauded for being the driving force behind the Spurs NBA-best 50-16 record. Kobe Bryant is always in the mix and the NBA's second-leading scorer led the Lakers to a Pacific Division title.

But Saturday, it will be James hoisting the trophy. His Miami Heat open the second round of the playoffs Sunday against the Indiana Pacers. Miami took three out of four from the Pacers during the regular season and thanks to the Chicago Bulls elimination, they now hold home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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