MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat superstar and reigning NBA most valuable player LeBron James was not with the team Wednesday for the final regular-season shootaround because he was tending to a personal matter.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was not going to use James Wednesday night when the Heat take on the Orlando Magic and its doubtful Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or any other of the Heat’s primary stars will see much action in the final regular season game.
Even while missing a few games at the end of the season, LeBron is likely a runaway selection for his fourth MVP award this season. After watching James take his game to a new level in the 2012 NBA Finals, he kept the momentum going and even improved his game more during the 2013 season.
LeBron has averaged 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game all while shooting 56.5 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from behind the three-point line. But those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg of how James has dominated the NBA this year.
LeBron also has an individual offensive rating of 125, which says that James’ simple presence on the court produces 125 points per 100 possessions for the Heat.
James leads the NBA in player efficiency rating, which is a measure of per-minute production, at 31.6, according to basketball-reference.com. James is ranked 11th in total shooting efficiency at .640, which is just slightly behind Kevin Durant, James’ primary competition for the MVP award.
LeBron ranks ninth in the league in usage percentage at 30.1. Usage percentage estimates the amount of team plays used by a player when he is on the floor, according to basketball-reference.com.
LeBron also leads the league in offensive win shares, or the number of wins contributed to by a player’s offense, at 14.6. James also leads the league in win shares, which measure the number of wins contributed to by a player at 19.3.
Beyond the numbers though, James has served as the primary facilitator of the Heat’s nearly unstoppable offense all season long. In addition, he’s arguably the teams’ best defender and with Dwyane Wade running beside him in the open court, unstoppable in the transition game.
James’ ascent has taken the Miami Heat on a 27-game winning streak and helped the team set a franchise record for number of wins in a season. James’ teammate summed up LeBron’s MVP candidacy to the Palm Beach Post’s Ethan Skolnick this way:
“Being the best player in the world on the best team in the world; and doing it on less shots,” Bosh said.
If LeBron is selected as the NBA MVP again, he will join the elite company of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Bill Russell (5), Michael Jordan (5), and Wilt Chamberlain (4) as players who have won at least four MVP awards.