LeBron James

LeBron James got off to another strong start in the 2020-21 season just 70 days after the Los Angeles Lakers had won the NBA championship.

James, who had just claimed his fourth NBA Finals MVP award, looked poised to guide the Lakers to another title with the way he played every game.

As a unit, the Lakers jumped to a 21-6 record through 27 games as the team kept accumulating wins.

But after Anthony Davis went down with a calf strain in mid-February, the Lakers needed James to produce more to keep the team afloat while Davis recovered.

It wasn’t pretty right away because Dennis Schroder, who became the team’s second scoring option, was sidelined because of health and safety protocols.

The Lakers struggled to find reliable and consistent sources of offense besides James as losses piled up shortly after Davis’ injury.

Despite those shortcomings, James still posted great numbers across the board, keeping his name in the MVP conversation.

In six games in March with Schroder back in the lineup, James averaged 25.0 points, 8.2 assists and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 58.1 percent overall and 44.1 percent from deep on high volume.

Unfortunately, James suffered an ankle sprain in late March that wiped out his availability for the second half of the season.

During exit interviews after the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs, Jared Dudley praised James’ play and called him the MVP before his ankle injury, via Harrison Faigen of SB Nation:

Jared Dudley says that LeBron James is the most consistent star he's ever played with, and while he's slowed a little, he's still incredible.

"We can all be honest here: He was the leading candidate for MVP before he hurt his ankle."

— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) June 4, 2021

When the NBA announced the MVP winner, Denver Nuggets star center Nikola Jokic took home the award. But James received one vote on the ballot, and it’s likely he would’ve collected more had he not been sidelined.

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Source : https://lebronwire.usatoday.com/2021/06/20/lakers-news-jared-dudley-called-lebron-james-the-mvp-front-runner-before-ankle-injury/

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