The LA Lakers have taken a commanding 3-1 lead against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Although the Miami Heat can always force an unlikely comeback to win the series in seven games, the Purple and Gold are the odds-on favorites to lift the title. As such, the discussion then moves to who'll win the NBA Finals MVP award and this time we have two legitimate contenders in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
LeBron James has undoubtedly had a phenomenal series so far and leads the LA Lakers in points, assists, and rebounds against the Miami Heat. But Anthony Davis is no slouch either. He had one bad outing but should still go on to win the 2020 NBA Finals MVP. Here are three reasons why.
#1 Anthony Davis' defense the true differential between LA Lakers and Miami Heat
Both Anthony Davis and LeBron James have played a key role on offense, managing 25.8 and 27.8 points per game respectively. However, AD's defensive work gives him the edge over LeBron in the race for the 2020 NBA Finals MVP.
Davis has been an elite rim protector averaging nearly two blocks per game this series. His ability to guard essentially each of the three frontcourt positions speaks volumes about his versatility. Davis can put the clamps on multiple players on the court including Jimmy Butler, which is exactly what he did in Game 4 on Tuesday.
#2 The efficiency factor gives AD the edge in the NBA Finals MVP race
LeBron James has a higher usage rate in the NBA Finals with him being the point forward of the team. This means that Anthony Davis has had to make the majority of his impact without the ball in his hands and that he's done so tremendously immediately makes his a shoo-in for the NBA Finals MVP.
Davis has shot the ball more accurately, grabbed key offensive rebounds to score second-chance points, and even turned up with clutch treys including the dagger in Game 4.
He's also yet to miss a single free throw against the Miami Heat whereas LeBron James has only gone 71.9% from the charity stripe. Davis has also committed fewer turnovers than LeBron. All these factors give him the edge in the NBA Finals MVP race.
#3 Anthony Davis should win the NBA Finals MVP by virtue of the eye test
It's easy to believe that LeBron James' presence allows Anthony Davis to excel at his game but in reality, the converse is true. The best example of that is the first half of Game 3 where AD missed most of the action due to foul trouble and LeBron James couldn't take control of proceedings. Davis wasn't at his best in that game and the Miami Heat eked out a win.
As mentioned earlier, AD makes his presence away from the basketball and that allows James to run the show as the playmaker. As such, it's evident that LeBron has a higher impact with Davis on the court. From an overall perspective, Anthony Davis has averaged a plus-minus rating of 6 per game as compared to LeBron's 2.8 which again gives him the edge in the NBA Finals MVP race.
Published 08 Oct 2020, 00:00 IST