Mar 25, 2022
Dave McMenaminESPN Staff Writer
- Lakers and NBA reporter for ESPN.
- Covered the Lakers and NBA for ESPNLosAngeles.com from 2009-14, the Cavaliers from 2014-18 for ESPN.com and the NBA for NBA.com from 2005-09.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- If it had been up to Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel, LeBron James would possibly perchance be adding a fifth MVP award to his occupation accomplishments after this season.
"He is as deserving for MVP consideration as somebody within the league," Vogel said after note Friday. "I know the intention the vote casting goes -- the crew with the categorical file or high couple of records assuredly gets most of these concerns, so the buy-loss file with out a doubt would potentially wound him.
"Nonetheless you would possibly perchance no longer whisper me that somebody has performed a more in-depth season than LeBron James has this year."
James leads the league in scoring, averaging 30 parts per sport on 52.3% shooting along with 8.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
The Lakers, on the opposite hand, are 10th within the Western Conference at 31-42 with 9 games remaining. They've a 6-13 file within the games James has neglected on fable of of effort.
Despite Vogel's endorsement, James is idea of as a longshot to manufacture many voters' high 5 candidates on their ballot, no longer to mention buy the award, with gamers equivalent to Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks seen as the consensus favorites.
Caesars Sportsbook lists James as a +30,000 longshot to buy the MVP award, striking him correct outside the stop 10. Embiid (-160), Jokic (+135) and Antetokounmpo (+900) fabricate up the stop three.
James neglected Wednesday's sport in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers on fable of of soreness in his left knee. James did no longer participate Friday, however Vogel said L.A. is "hopeful" he returns to the lineup Sunday for a pivotal toll road matchup with the Novel Orleans Pelicans.
Novel Orleans is for the time being No. 9 within the West and would host the Lakers in a play-in match sport if the season ended today.
"The bigger motivator for us down the stretch for us for the remaining 9 games is, how are we playing?" Vogel said when requested in regards to the aptitude play-in preview in opposition to the Pelicans. "Are we playing winning basketball? And are we bettering our habits effectively ample to buy? Whether or no longer it be the play-in sport, or if we're ready to web thru the play-in games, to buy within the important round. The habits are the largest motivator, and there would possibly perchance be been some with out a doubt encouraging indicators with how we now web performed."
Vogel said Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (ankle) practiced on Friday, and the Lakers are hopeful they are going to web him in opposition to Novel Orleans.