“King James” already has four regular-season and finals MVPs to go with his Rookie of the Year accolade. The LA Lakers superstar has also been honored three times as the best player in 17 All-Star appearances.
Back in the 2012-13 season, LeBron James very nearly bagged the DPOY award that eventually went to Marc Gasol, who played for the Memphis Grizzlies back then. James, who got 52 points in the voting posted by coaches, made the All-NBA Defensive First Team that season. Gasol earned 12 points, which pushed him into the second team.
The four-time champion has apparently not forgotten about it based on his Instagram story. LeBron James’ caption was loud and clear:
“STILL PISSED AT NOT GETTING DPOY THAT YEAR(angry emoticons)”
James’ 52 points were second in the voting behind Gasol’s teammate Tony Allen with 52. Chris Paul and Ibaka also joined them. Strangely and somewhat ridiculously enough, Gasol was not even the best center in the voting. The First-Team All-NBA Defense had two centers who ended up with a tie. Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah got the honors.
To his credit, Marc Gasol anchored the NBA’s best defense that season. The Memphis Grizzlies had a 100.3 Defensive Rating behind the grit and grind philosophy of Gasol, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph. Memphis also became a much better rebounding team with their big man in the lineup.
The Spaniard’s instincts, reading of the game and unselfish play stood out as the Grizzlies’ last line of defense. His more obvious impact probably nudged him past LeBron James for the award. To this day, though, many are still saying that the former Miami Heat star was robbed of that recognition.
LeBron James certainly had his biggest shot at the DPOY that year. He averaged 1.7 steals and .9 blocks per game. The eye test will certainly show that he was a bigger menace on defense than Gasol. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra often asked him to guard 1-5 with great success. At the peak of his powers, no one can match his size, speed, power and God-given abilities to just ball.
At this stage in his career, LeBron James picks his spot on defense as he has to conserve his energy carrying the LA Lakers on offense.
LeBron James and the LA Lakers will have their hands full against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is on a tear and will likely cause havoc against the LA Lakers' struggling defense. In the last five games, the superstar center has averaged 40.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 blocks. He is also shooting 56.5% from the field and a dazzling 47.1% from beyond the arc.
No one in the NBA right now has his mix of speed and touch for a man of his size. He is a walking mismatch every night, particularly with his improved passing ability. The LA Lakers are unlikely to put LeBron James at center to contend with the bruising big man.
Even with Anthony Davis set to play, the Lakers are bound to rotate bodies on the most spectacular player in the NBA as of the moment.