NBA Futures: Surprising Value on LeBron James to Win MVP

James is +10000 to win his fifth MVP award

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2022-2023 NBA MVP Value Pick

It feels weird to be calling arguably the best basketball player of all time a "sleeper" candidate for any award but based on the current NBA MVP odds, that's exactly what LeBron James is. James is currently +10000 to win his fifth MVP, yet is putting up MVP-type numbers. So why is The King, in his 20th NBA season, such a long shot to win the award?

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Why LeBron James Could Win MVP

James is averaging 29.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season. These aren't the best numbers of his career, but they're definitely up there. Plus, to think he's doing this all at 38 years old should count for something, right? It also isn't very surprising to know that he leads the Lakers in nearly every statistical category this season... except assists and rebounds when Anthony Davis is on the floor.

However, the Lakers' record and lack of success they're having as a team is exactly why James isn't higher on the MVP odds boards. They currently sit at 23-26 on the season and in fifth place in the Pacific Division. Even if James was putting up the best stats in the league, there's a good chance he still wouldn't be the favorite because of how poor his team has been. MVP voters look at points and stats, but they also look at how those numbers translate to wins. If you think back to previous winners, is there anyone that's recently earned the award without their team making the playoffs? Not that I can recall.

If the Lakers can turn their season around, which is certainly doable, James can definitely rise up the odds boards. Anthony Davis is returning from injury and having him back on the court will help Los Angeles win games. The Lakers also just traded for Rui Hachimura, and while I don't think he's going to be the main reason the Lakers start seeing success, having him in the lineup will definitely help.

If the Purple and Gold can position themselves in the playoff picture come April, then James absolutely has an argument for MVP, especially when you take into account some of his accomplishments this season.

At the beginning of January, James posted two straight 40+ point games, which is the first time he’s done that in consecutive games since Games 5 and 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals. He's also scored 30 or more points in eight of his last 11 games. Not to mention, by the time the regular season comes to a close, James will have passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's all-time leading scorer. And he's doing all of this in his 20th season and at nearly 40 years old. It's all pretty impressive stuff. He just needs a little extra help from the players around him to add more W's to the win column.

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