NBA Player Power Rankings: Is the Race for MVP Over?

Feb 24, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) looks on against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) looks on against the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 29, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots in the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 29, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots in the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Last Rank: No. 2

Position: Small Forward

Age: 31

Slash Line: .505/.284/.714

Season Averages: 35.9 MPG, 24.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.1 3PM

LeBron James doesn’t seem to care about playing defense during the regular season, and that’s just something that we’re going to have to accept. It’s becoming a common trait amongst star players, as coaches look to hide their offensive centerpieces on defense and save their energy.

As difficult as it is to overcome the anger over James’ defensive decline, it’s impossible to overlook his offensive brilliance.

James returned from his game of rest by recording 33 points on 14-of-22 shooting during a 100-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers. He also tallied 25 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists on a mark of 9-of-18 against the Toronto Raptors, but failed to convert the game-winning shot attempt.

James’ statistics are as impressive as they’ve always been, but one can’t help but believe that fatigue is setting in due to the milage that could’ve understandably overwhelmed him.

James has led teams to five consecutive NBA Finals appearances. In total, he’s played in 968 regular season games and 178 postseason outings—a number that equates to 1146 total games and a combined 45,377 minutes of professional basketball.

It’s frustrating to see James take such a significant step back on defense, but it was to be somewhat expected.

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