"He's been the third-best forward in the league this year" - Nick Wright asserts that LeBron James is still one of the best players in the NBA despite not being at his best

LeBron James of the LA Lakers vs the Minnesota Timberwolves
LeBron James of the LA Lakers vs the Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James continues to be a beacon of hope despite the team's inconsistent start to the season. With the Lakers flirting just over the 0.500 mark, LeBron James has continued to play at the level we have seen from arguably the greatest player of all time.

On Fox Sports' daily morning show First Things First, Nick Wright talked about how LeBron continues to defy age and logic and play at this incredibly high level. Nick Wright spoke about how LeBron James isn't the outright best player in the league right now, but he is still one of the top three forwards in the NBA. Wright said:

“It is odd, though, despite all the Lakers' issues and despite everything we've talked about, he's (LeBron) been the third-best forward in the league this year. It's been Giannis, Durant and then LeBron. It’s hard to make a case for anybody else.”

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Is LeBron James in the running for the MVP award?

Los Angeles Lakers superstars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers superstars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James

With Kevin Durant and Steph Curry headlining the chase for the MVP award this season, the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Nikola Jokić are somewhat forgotten as possible contenders.

LeBron James currently has the Lakers sitting seventh in the highly competitive Western Conference with a 16-15 record. They have won six of their last 10 games and are currently less than three games behind fourth seed Memphis Grizzlies.

It is evident from history that the team's record plays a huge role in deciding who wins the MVP award this season, despite it being an individual award. The Lakers will need to go on a run to bridge the gap to the likes of the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors if LeBron James wants to win the MVP.

Team chemistry has been an issue for the Lakers thus far, with Russell Westbrook and LeBron James failing to click together at all times. That is an issue for Frank Vogel, which will in all likelihood decide how far the Lakers go this season, especially with Anthony Davis set to be sidelined for an extended period of time.

Another roadblock for LeBron James and his quest for the MVP award this season is the performances of his competitors like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Both these superstars are having an incredible season while carrying their extremely depleted sides to very good seedings.

With coach Frank Vogel experimenting with LeBron James and the Lakers by playing his talisman as the center to space the floor and clear the pathway to the basket for LeBron, it is natural that King James' individual performances won't quite be up to par with Curry and Durant.

With all that said, we could very well see LeBron James be in the MVP conversation soon enough if the Lakers can manage to put together a run. We are only in December and there is a long way to go before the regular season ends. If King James can stay fit, then we could very well see him in the MVP race in a month's time.

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Edited by Parimal