LeBron v. Curry — the “real MVP” debate

Let’s face it — when LeBron insinuated that, notwithstanding Stephen Curry’s record-breaking season, he might not have been the most valuable player to his team, there were many pundits nodding in agreement. In their minds, Curry has a stronger supporting cast and the Cavs would not even qualify for the playoffs without LeBron. In that light, the word valuable would seem to define LeBron more.

The playoffs, however, are casting shadows on that light. To wit, LeBron accumulated 24 pts, 8 rebs and 6 assists in game 3 of the eastern finals against the Raptors. He followed that up with 29–9–6 in game 4. Both games ended in convincing losses for the Cavs, in spite of his superb individual performance. In his own words, LeBron “executed my game plan.” Fast forward to game 1 of the NBA finals, LeBron compiled another impressive line: 23–12–9, in a 15-point losing cause.

In fact, LeBron has consistently scored over 20 points and has threatened a triple-double in every 2016 game. His output has been the same, (mostly) win and (occasionally) lose.

So, is LeBron really winning in spite of his teammates? Or does the evidence presented here show clearly the same superlative performance from him may generate a win on many nights but cannot prevent a loss on some nights. Effectively then, he cannot win in spite of his team. And he is as dependent on his supporting cast as Stephen Curry.