LeBron to win MVP

Here’s a shocker — LeBron James is going to win the 2009-2010 Most Valuable Player award.

At age 25, James becomes the second-youngest to win back-to-back MVPs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a couple of months younger when he won his back-to-back award in 1972. The others two win back-to-back are Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Abdul-Jabbar. Only Bird, Chamberlain and Russell ever won the award three years in a row.

Last year James won in a landslide, getting 109 of the first-place 121 votes given out to sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league. This year, James is expected to approach winning the award unanimously.

LeBron has a good chance to win this award again and again, though NBA writers are fickle and they’ll start looking for reasons to give the award to someone else once voting for LeBron wears thin. The same thing happened to Michael Jordan.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

At this point, even Kobe thinks LeBron is the MVP

There’s no doubt that LeBron James is having the best season of his young career. It’s not so much that his numbers are better — it’s the Cavs’ winning ways that have LeBron atop the short list for this year’s MVP. He even has the vote of the player who’s in second place (at least on my list).

Bryant seemed mildly uncomfortable when asked for his MVP choice near the season’s halfway point.

“LeBron,” he said. “Leave me alone about that stuff.”

He then expanded upon his thoughts.

“I’m a big fan of his, obviously,” he said. “I just think the world of him. Playing with him this summer [at the Beijing Olympics], and seeing his work ethic and what he’s about, I just think he’s terrific.”

It probably kills the competitor in Kobe to admit that, but it just goes to show the nature of the MVP race right now. LeBron has improved defensively, is superior in most statistical measures, and he has guided his team to a great record despite not having as much help as Kobe does.

Tonight’s game at the Staples Center should be a good one. I hope we are treated to more than a handful of possessions where the two superstars guard each other.

2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Think Might Happen

It’s time to look ahead to 2009 and play a little Nostradamus.

Last year, we predicted that God would anoint the “Devil-free” Rays World Series Champions (ding!), that Brett Favre would play another year or two (ding! – sort of), that Isiah Thomas would be canned (ding!), and that Kobe would be playing for a new team by the trade deadline…

Granted, that last one didn’t come true, but how were we supposed to know that the Grizzlies would trade Pau Gasol to the Lakers for an unproven rookie and a bag of peanuts? Our occasional inaccuracy isn’t going to keep us from rolling out another set of predictions – some serious and some farcical – for 2009 and beyond, including President Obama’s plan for a college football playoff, Donovan McNabb’s new home and the baseball club most likely to be 2009’s version of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Read on, and in a year, we guarantee* you’ll be amazed.

*This is not an actual guarantee, mind you.

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Already Knew.”

Michael Vick will play for the Oakland Raiders next season.

Once NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell allows suspended quarterback Michael Vick to re-enter the league, let’s be honest, there’s really only one team that will take a shot on the convict: the Oakland Raiders. Sure, the Raiders would have to possibly give up a draft pick because Vick will still technically be property of the Falcons, but with Matt Ryan on board, Atlanta would probably be willing to give Mikey up for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos…snack size. With Vick on board, JaMarcus Russell could shift to tight end or full back or offensive tackle or something. Or, Vick could play wide receiver! Or running back! Think of the possibilities! The Oakland Raiders will be the most unstoppable team in the league! That is, of course, until Vick gets the itch for his old hobby. – Anthony Stalter

The Nationals and Pirates become the official AAAA teams of their respective divisions.

After finishing at or near the bottom of the division since the franchise’s move from Montreal, Major League Baseball executives analyze the entire Washington Nationals player system and conclude that they have no chance of fielding a competitive team in the near future. In the boldest decision of his tenure, Commissioner Bud Selig demotes the team’s Major League roster to AAAA status, a phrase long used by baseball personnel to describe players that are too good for the minors but not good enough for the majors. In an added twist, Selig designates that the team’s assets are fair game for all four remaining teams in the National League East, as a means of creating parity. In order to keep the number of teams even in each league, Selig also downgrades the Pittsburgh Pirates, losers of 94 or more games since 2005, to AAAA status as well. It will be six weeks into the regular season before an NL East team claims any of these former Pirates or Nationals. – David Medsker

Barack Obama will have a plan in place for a college football playoff by 2016.

He has already spoken out twice in favor of an eight-team playoff format for college football. Granted, there are more pressing concerns for the President-elect – the economy, the war in Iraq and a forward-thinking energy policy, just to name a few – but there’s no reason that Obama can’t appoint a “Playoff Czar” to get the conference presidents and the bowl organizers together to hash out a system that works for everyone. Are the bowls worried about losing money? Rotate the semifinals and the final amongst the four bowl cities. Are the conferences worried about losing money? They shouldn’t be – the ratings for an eight-team playoff would dwarf the ratings the current system is getting. And better ratings means more money. This is something that 85%-90% of the population can agree on, and that doesn’t happen often. Mark our words – President Obama will make it happen, especially if he gets a second term. – John Paulsen

Read the rest after the jump...

Early-season NBA awards

The NBA season is less than a month old, but that’s not going to stop me from handing out some early-season awards…

The most outstanding rookie award goes to…Rudy Fernandez.
Derrick Rose is probably the front-runner for the ROY award, but Rudy has been better thus far. His PER is an eye-popping 23.89 (Rose’s is 17.78), which is second-best amongst all shooting guards, and it seems like night after night he’s making a highlight-reel play. Fernandez is averaging 15.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while shooting 48% from the field and 46% from long range. To top it off, he’s nailing 93% of his free throws and is registering 1.3 steals per game. His fine play is allowing the Blazers to be patient with Jerryd Bayless by running Brandon Roy at he point and Fernandez at off guard. Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Jason Thompson and Kevin Love deserve honorable mention.

The league MVP goes to…LeBron James.
Cleveland is 6-2 and that projects to a 62-win season. If the Cavs can accomplish that, LeBron is going to run away with the MVP award. He’s averaging 29.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists, and is shooting 49% from the field and 78% from the free throw line (which would be a career-high). A case could be made for Kobe Bryant, but he has a much better supporting cast and LeBron’s numbers are better across the board. (Besides, I don’t think voters would want to give Kobe back-to-back MVP awards.) Paul Pierce is a possibility, but he’s only shooting 41% from the field this season. Chris Paul is having an even better year than last season’s remarkable jump, but the Hornets are just 4-3 thus far. Atlanta’s Joe Johnson might be LeBron’s biggest challenger early in the season, but King James has him beat in virtually every statistical category. LeBron it is.

The “I’m the real reason the Bucks traded away Mo Williams” award goes to…Ramon Sessions.
Even though he’s playing fewer minutes (barely) than starter Luke Ridnour, Sessions is averaging more points (15.6 to 10.6), steals (1.1 to 0.9), has a better assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7 to 1.9), a better FG% (48% to 34%) and a better 3PT% (40% to 27%). I don’t think the Bucks are going to be too heartbroken when Ridnour’s contract is up after next season because it looks like Sessions, the former second-round pick, is Milwaukee’s point guard of the future. He’s in the final year of his rookie deal, so it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of contract he gets next summer.

The “maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to come to L.A.” award goes to…Baron Davis.
First, he thinks he’s going to get to play with Elton Brand, but Brand bolts for Philly. Now the Clippers are 1-7 and are losing games by a league-worst 13.4 points per game. Their defense is bad, but their offense is worse. They have scored the second-fewest points per game (88.3) and have the second-worst field goal percentage (41%). For his part, Davis hasn’t done much to help the cause. He’s shooting 37% from the field and just 26% from long range. If this keeps up, the Clippers will be out of the playoff race by Christmas.

The “boy, Devin Harris and those two first round picks are looking really good right now” award goes to…Mark Cuban.
Last year, when the Dallas owner pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Devin Harris and two first round picks to the Nets for a 34 year-old Jason Kidd, I was very skeptical. It was a longshot that the trade would pan out, as it was debatable at the time of the trade whether or not Kidd was even better than Harris. Certainly, Harris had a lot more upside, and his stint in New Jersey has allowed him to flourish. The first of the two picks was used on Ryan Anderson, and he is playing pretty well in limited minutes this season. The second pick is an unprotected first rounder in 2010, which could be a lottery pick if the Mavs can’t get things straightened out. They are 2-5 and their top four players – Kidd (35), Dirk Nowitzki (30), Jason Terry (31) and Josh Howard (28) – are all at least 28 years-old. Barring an injury to one of these guys, the Mavs will probably be fighting for a playoff spot in April, but that’s not exactly what Cuban had in mind.

Related Posts