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USATSI

The NBA is reportedly not including the remaining regular-season games that will be starting on July 30 as part of the voting process for awards like Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Voters will have to go back and look at the game film leading up to March 11, the day the league was postponed due to COVID-19. All season long, the race for the MVP has mainly centered around two players: Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James. While many think the Greek Freak should win the award for the second straight season, the Los Angeles Lakers' superstar is making the case for himself. 

During a media session Monday afternoon, James was asked about the race for MVP this season, and the three-time NBA champion said his resume speaks for itself

"As far as the MVP race I think I've shown what I'm capable of doing," James said. "Not only individually, but from a team perspective with us being No. 1 in the West. There was a lot of conversation about 'LeBron can do those things in the East but if he ever came to the West what can he do?' I heard all of that, and to be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way we were playing at the time and the way I was playing, that's definitely a good feeling."

To support James' point, the 35-year-old is leading the league in assists (10.6), which is also a career high for him, and he's averaging 25.7 points a game to go along with 7.9 rebounds a night. He's attempting more 3s (6.4) than he ever has in his career, but is sinking them at a 35 percent clip. What James has been able to do in his 17th NBA season is unprecedented for someone of his age, and Frank Vogel says he's "absolutely" deserving of winning the award. The Lakers coach said on Saturday that "nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James," and further illustrated his point by pointing to two games in March that echoed that sentiment. 

"In that weekend, LeBron took the toughest assignment in both games," Vogel said, via Sports Illustrated. "He guarded Kawhi [Leonard] in the Clippers game and did a great job with him there. And then he guarded Giannis [Antetokounmpo] in the Bucks game when [Anthony Davis] was in foul trouble and did a great job in those two situations. I feel like after what he's able to do on the defensive end, combined with the dominance that he exhibits with not just scoring the ball, assisting the ball, but orchestrating our offense, leading us on the break, I think that weekend was probably a great indicator or a great measuring stick." 

James' individual performance this season has been the driving force behind the Lakers' team success. L.A.'s offensive rating drops to 110 when LeBron is off the floor, compared to 115 with him on it. The Lakers have steamrolled over teams all season long, and it's because of James, who has done everything from being their best scorer, the conductor on offense by getting guys involved and someone who goes in the paint to grab rebounds. He's been re-committed on the defensive side of the ball this season, and his effort on that side of the ball has been one of the reasons why the Lakers have the third-ranked defense in the league. 

As much as James has done this season, though, Giannis has had his own historic season. The Milwaukee Bucks star has not only improved his game once again on offense, but he also leads the NBA in defensive efficiency, surrendering just 0.782 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports. He's pushed the Bucks to have not just the best record in the East, but in the entire league. He's averaging just shy of 30 points a game, to go along with a career-high 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists. 

LeBron has had a spectacular regular season, but Giannis has been just slightly better. While he might've had the ability to catch Antetokounmpo had the season not been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, time has run out on that race and LeBron might come in second this year.