- Mamadou Tall
The Best MVP Season of the NBA's 2010s Era
The 2010s era in the NBA is over and with the news cycle in a state of limbo, a new debate arises. Who had the best MVP season of the 2010s era?
Within the decade there have been seven different MVP award winners. Players such as LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. All of these players presented us with amazing seasons, but only one can be the best.
This is a tough topic to gauge because at times stats don’t tell the whole story, but then there are times when all you have to do is let the stats do the talking. The 2010s gave us the first unanimous MVP in Stephen Curry. It gave us Russell Westbrook becoming the second person to average a triple double for a season (first done by Oscar Robertson in 1962). We saw the youngest MVP in Derrick Rose (who won the award at age 22). The 2010s era gave spectators and pundits a great class of MVPs to say the least.
So what year gave us the best MVP season? The 2012–2013 season.
Who was the MVP that season? LeBron James.
You’re probably asking how is it not the only unanimous MVP, Stephen Curry. Curry’s 2016 unanimous MVP season isn’t far behind James’ 2013 MVP season. Statistically they were both amazing and visually they were both amazing to watch. However, James’ 2013 season was like no other we have seen in the decade.
Let’s flashback to the 2012–2013 season. The Miami Heat and James were fresh off of winning a championship and LeBron was the reigning MVP. NBA 2k13 had just dropped and LeBron was a 99 overall; in other words purely unstoppable. Somehow someway what James was doing in the gaming world managed to project itself out into the real world. That season LeBron put up impressive numbers paired with amazing efficiency and play that went beyond just statistics on both sides of the ball. That season was the most complete version of James we have seen in his 16 year career.
In the 2012–2013 season we witnessed James average 27 points, 7.3 assists, 8 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1 block. Pair those numbers with 56 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent from three (a career high), 64 percent in true shooting and an amazing 31.6 player efficiency rating. Statistically this was one of the best seasons in NBA history. Not to mention he was the runner up for the Defensive Player of the Year behind center Marc Gasol.
For those of us who don’t only look at the stats, we were blessed with daily sportscenter highlights of James’ gravity defying dunks, chase down blocks and magical dimes.
The most memorable highlight occuring on March 18 of 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston. Teammate Norris Cole was at the top of the key and threw the ball away to Jason Terry of the Boston Celtics. Dwayne Wade then came from behind Terry and poked the ball away inadvertently starting a hot potato game. The ball hopped from Wade to Mario Chalmers and back to Cole. All this happening while Terry was hopping from Wade to Chalmers to Cole. All of a sudden the ball goes up in the air and in comes James flying in to finish off what was left of Terry.
Better yet, let us reminisce on the 27 game win streak that the Miami Heat went on, which was led by James. How everything during that streak just seemed almost effortless for him and it was obvious that he was the best player in the world. Or speak about how before Curry became the first unanimous MVP, James was projected to become an unanimous MVP but fell short by one first place vote.
James on the Miami Heat with stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, still managed to put dominant numbers up on the stat sheet. He managed to seperate himself from the from the rest of the players on his team and the league. He led his team in points, assists and rebounds that year, while also leading them to 66 wins on the year. In that season James won the MVP award, came in second for the Defensive Player of the Year, won an NBA championship paired with the NBA Finals MVP.
The 2012–2013 MVP season was the most complete all around showcase of excellence. Statistically it was up there with the best in NBA history, athletically and defensively James was at his peak. The efficiency was something to behold.
Disagree all you want but it’s hard to deny what we saw from LeBron James in the 2012–2013 season.