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    The argument happens most every year. Who is the NBA MVP?

    LeBron James has been the best player for most of his 15 years in the league Taven Bryan Color Rush Jersey , and he’s won the award only four times. Russell Westbrook won it last year, buoyed by averaging a triple-double, yet seems to not even be in the conversation this season with very similar numbers. James Harden was a popular pick last season, saw his assist and rebound numbers dip this season, yet is generally considered the runaway favorite.

    Part of the issue is this: There’s no clarity on how the MVP is defined.

    No one knows the criteria. The award ballot sent to MVP voters simply says ”The winner of this award receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, named after the first Commissioner of the NBA.”

    Is it the player most valuable to his team?

    Is it the player most valuable to the game?

    Is it the best player?

    Those are only some of the many gray areas.

    Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has said many times over the years that James would win annually, if not for voters getting tired of selecting him (though Rivers is also on record this year saying Harden will be MVP). Michael Jordan might have dealt with the same voter-fatigue issue. And it’s still baffling that Oscar Robertson, who had some of the most statistically ridiculous seasons in NBA history, won it only once.

    Debate will probably always surround the MVP race, a notable exception being two years ago when Stephen Curry was the first unanimous winner.

    This year’s answer will come June 25 Sam Darnold Jets Jersey , when the NBA announces the winner. It’ll likely be Harden. There will be reasonable points made in support of that. There will be reasonable points made for James as well.

    Here now, the picks for certain awards by AP Basketball Writers Brian Mahoney and Tim Reynolds, as well as a look at what we think will happen in the playoffs:

    MVP

    Mahoney: James Harden, Houston. Mastered a new position last season. Masterfully shared it this one. His stats, team’s record, make a worthy winner.

    Reynolds: LeBron James, Cleveland. Made this same pick last year, making it again this year, because the Cavs would be horrid without him.

    MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    Mahoney: Clint Capela, Rockets. Blocks shots Jonathan Allen Color Rush Jersey , rebounds, and the NBA’s leading shooter doesn’t miss much when he gets the ball.

    Reynolds: Victor Oladipo, Indiana. He was absolutely fantastic in his first Indiana season, leading the Pacers to the No. 5 seed in the East.

    COACH OF THE YEAR

    Mahoney: Brad Stevens, Celtics. Won it in November with response to losing Gordon Hayward. Re-won it in March with response to losing Kyrie Irving.

    Reynolds: Many great candidates – like Dwane Casey, Gregg Popovich, Brad Stevens, Brett Brown and Terry Stotts. But Utah’s Quin Snyder is the pick.

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

    Mahoney: Donovan Mitchell, Utah. Hard to believe he was barely a lottery pick last year after watching him carry Utah like an All-Star.

    Reynolds: Utah’s Donovan Mitchell gets the call, not in an anti-Ben Simmons vote Durham Smythe Color Rush Jersey , but because he led the Jazz like a savvy, seasoned pro.

    EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION

    Mahoney: Cleveland still has the best player and too much firepower around him to lose four times to an East team.

    Reynolds: LeBron James is as good as ever, and is always an incredibly tough out. Toronto can defeat Cleveland, but the Cavs rate a tiny edge.

    WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION

    Mahoney: Golden State, but less sure of that than at any time during the Warriors‘ run. Houston is that good.

    Reynolds: Until proven otherwise, and this assumes that Stephen Curry comes back healthy from his knee issue, the pick is Golden State – again.

    NBA CHAMPIONS

    Mahoney: Warriors in 5.

    Reynolds: Warriors in 5.

    BOLD OFFSEASON PREDICTIONS

    Mahoney: Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler were all traded last summer. Is there anything that would surprise you?

    Reynolds: LeBron James leaves Cleveland http://www.panthersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dj-moore-jersey , Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard, Wizards break up Bradley Beal and John Wall, and Rihanna DMs Joel Embiid.

    Brian Mahoney is the AP Basketball Writer based in New York. Tim Reynolds is the AP Basketball Writer based in Miami.

    LeBron James capped his 15th regular season with yet another record.

    James played in his 82nd game on Wednesday night against the New York Knicks, completing an end to end run that underscores the 33-year-old’s remarkable consistency. The four-time MVP had never played every game in a regular season as he typically sits out games at the end of the year to rest for the playoffs.

    Not this year.

    James’ previous high was 81 games in 2008-09, when then-coach Mike Brown sat him for the Cavs‘ regular-season finale. James never made playing every game a goal, but he has said he wants to break the mold for players of his age.

    Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he tried to talk James out of playing, but relented.

    ”He wants to play,” Lue said. ”I mean, it’s hard to play 82 games. I was in the league 11 years. Never had a chance to get to 82. Everything has to go absolutely right. He wants to play and I guess in his 15th year to get to 82, it really says a lot. It says a lot about him. But once he gets his 10 points Lorenzo Carter Color Rush Jersey , don’t be surprised if I yank him out. He might get mad, but I don’t care. I don’t care.”

    And Lue kept his word.

    After James scored 10 points, extending his NBA record for scoring in double digits to 873 games, Lue sent in Jordan Clarkson for the three-time champion.

    James will finish the season leading the league in points and minutes played. He entered the finale averaging 27.7 points with career-highs in assists (9.2) assists and rebounds (8.7). He’s not expected to be named MVP as Houston’s James Harden remains the favorite, but James remains the game’s unquestioned best all-around player.

    James will also lead the Cavs in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

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