The Real MVP
Lakers star LeBon James is not happy about the way the NBA MVP voting turned out.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo received 85 first-place votes; that discrepancy has James in an uproar. Instead of feeling sorry for him, feel sorry for the Nuggets because they will get all of James's frustration during the Western Conference Finals.
If anyone should be angry about a lack of first-place votes, it's Thunder guard Chris Paul. Paul not only finished 7th in the MVP race, but he also finished with a total of 26 points, with no first or second-place votes.
At the risk of being called a homer, this is an absolute joke. Not that the other players ranked ahead of Paul aren't deserving of being touted by the media, but the keyword here is VALUABLE.
Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden were all instrumental in their team's success, but every one of them was expected to be in the postseason. When Paul was traded to Oklahoma City, the oddsmakers gave the Thunder a .2 percent chance of making the playoffs.
Not only did Oklahoma City get to the postseason, but they were also one win away from facing James and the Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Paul led the NBA in clutch scoring with 150 points and tied for first (with ShaiGilgous-Alexander) in steals with 10. Paul also shot 52 percent from the field in clutch time while shooting 92 percent from the line.
Since November 25th, the Thunder has gone 25-7 in clutch games, the second-best clutch record in the NBA during that time with Paul leading the way, and that's not worth at least one first-place vote? Paul is too classy to complain about how things turned out, but, quite frankly, he should feel insulted.
At 35, Paul experienced a resurgence that has made him one of the most coveted pieces of trade bait this off-season.
Sam Presti will likely use Paul's status to help make the Thunder better in the coming days, but there is no question; the Thunder and Paul had a mutually beneficial relationship. One that should have Paul returning to the organization in a front-office role once his playing days are done.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past seven seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.