The Z Report

Lance Zierlein: Despite LeBron's strong finish, the MVP race isn't really that close

James Harden will win the MVP despite LeBron's late push. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

You are already starting to hear it and starting to read it. You didn’t really think it would be that easy, did you?

LeBron James appears to be gaining some ground on James Harden in the race for MVP thanks to a tremendous stretch of play that has been punctuated by some of the best statistical output of his career. That’s the thing… LeBron doesn’t like the notion that anyone else is considered to be better than him in any given year and it is one of the things that drives him to be great. He has ego. Ego in sports can be a very good thing.

But the truth of the matter is that no matter how much LeBron “gains” on Harden, it will just be a matter of closing the distance with the final vote total. The race for MVP is over as it should be. In the grand scheme of things, Harden’s legacy could hinge on how he performs in these playoffs, but taking home an MVP is the culmination of his journey with the Rockets.

 

 

Beloved LeBron

LeBron is the darling of the national media. He’s the modern day Michael Jordan, but with 41.2 million Twitter followers. He embraces media attention and has since his days in high school. LeBron is never stagnant and wants to move the needle during the news cycle and the national media is eternally grateful.

You don’t have to be paying close attention to realize that many of the move visible and vocal basketball pundits and television talkers are unabashed LeBron fans. They don’t just admire him, they clearly enjoy their role in his life. They see themselves as more than media members covering him, they are acquaintances or even friends.

Make no mistake, I am in awe of the run that LeBron is on and he will be revved up to keep his consecutive trips to the NBA Finals streak alive. I just know that there will never be a time that the more visible media members won’t have LeBron’s back. That could even extend to an MVP vote.

James the Anti-Hero

The national media respects and appreciates the brilliance of James Harden. Don’t kid yourself - it’s true. Now there have been times that they’ve gone after him, but we have too and we were all in the right. Harden’s defense has been non-existent in the past. Harden has disappeared at inopportune times during playoff series.

James Harden dates Trina, Amber Rose, and Khloe Kardashian while LeBron is all about the family. Harden doesn’t subtweet his teammates flaws, he just tells them to their face - at the club. Harden doesn’t come in a nice, neat package that was meant to be marketed to children and fanboys. I’m sure the NBA is always a little leery about promoting Harden because he’s got a little more edge than they are used to.

Even though the national media would love to crown LeBron the “King of the League” again with another MVP, it’s not going to happen. The unwritten rules are already set and followed. The elite player on the best team wins the MVP. That’s how it works. This isn’t a handout to Harden, he earned it. He’s been in the driver’s seat all year. There hasn’t been any drama about where he plays next year, or discord in the locker room or long stretches of losing for his team. It’s been the opposite.

LeBron is great, but Harden is the King for this season. Now about those playoffs...

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio talks with Chris Simms about the latest information regarding Deshaun Watson and the cases against him. Lawyer Tony Buzbee told Fox 26's Mark Berman that a settlement is not close to happening, and the women that spoke with the NFL did not feel respected.

So what do we make of this? Florio's opinion is that Buzbee is making these comments to put pressure on Deshaun Watson and the NFL, because stirring up this "hornet's nest" will blow back on Watson and the NFL, not Buzbee and his clients. Buzbee must believe that stirring the pot could help nudge the cases toward resolution in a more timely manner.

Finally, Florio spells out how the game is played with lawyers. Meaning, Rusty Hardin and his team are going to make this process as uncomfortable as possible for all the accusers. According to Florio, that's right out of the legal playbook if such a thing existed.

Check out the video to hear Florio's full take on the latest information.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome