NBA MVP Race So Far: Luka Doncic vs. LeBron James
On November 19, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James secured another triple-double in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The triple-double against the Thunder was historic. James became the first player in history to record that stat line against every team in the NBA. Many basketball minds have the four-time NBA MVP as the favorite to win the award this year.
However, another star is making a strong case.
On November 20, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward Luka Doncic notched a triple-double against the Golden State Warriors, which is his seventh of the season. The feat was impressive. Doncic played only 25 minutes, which was the least amount of time for a 30-point triple-double in NBA history. Also, he had a 42-point triple-double in the previous game versus the San Antonio Spurs.
James and Doncic are the two frontrunners for MVP. Both have been amazing so far this season. But, who is the leading candidate right now?
LeBron James vs. Luka Doncic: Who is the MVP So Far?
Tale of the MVP Tapes
Through 14 games this season, James is averaging 25 points and 11.1 assists per game. His 11.1 assists per game is a career-high so far. James is shooting 48.9% from the floor, which includes a respectable 34.6% from three-point range. Defensively, James is showing more effort and is effective on that end of the floor again. James’ best game of the season came against Doncic’s Mavericks. He finished with a season-high 39 points and 16 assists. James’ stat lines are more impressive given he is playing in his 17th season in the NBA. His play has led the Lakers to the best record in the NBA at 12-2.
Through 14 games, Doncic is averaging 29.9 points per game, 10.6 rebounds per game, and 9.4 assists per game. He is shooting 48.6%, which is nearly a 6% increase from his rookie season. Also, Doncic increased his free-throw percentage by nearly 10%. He went from 71.3% in his rookie season to 81.5% currently. Doncic recorded his season-high in assists against the Lakers, finishing with 15. His play has the Mavericks at 9-5 and many have picked them to leap into the playoffs.
And The Winner…
James is neck-to-neck with his career stats. Despite increasing age, he is showing he is still arguably the best player in the NBA. He has revitalized the Lakers’ hopes of capturing their first title in a decade. Doncic is not only a favorite for MVP, but many have him competing for the Most Improved Player award too. He has improved greatly over his rookie season. James has the Lakers at the top of the NBA while Doncic is leading the Mavericks back to the playoffs.
Doncic has a slight edge for NBA MVP. The NBA tends to shy away from multiple winners of the award. James already has four. Also, the NBA is marketing its younger stars. Doncic is averaging more points and rebounds than James, although James has been more efficient. For right now, the freshness, youth, and excitement of Doncic have taken the NBA world by storm. But, the race is far from over.