LeBron James is the Best Player in the NBA
I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles and I have been a Laker fan all my life but Kobe Bryant is not the best player on the planet.
However, before we discuss who is the best player in the NBA, we should answer the question of what a best player would look like.
The best player in any sport has three essential qualities:
First, he shows up to play every night. All players have off nights, but the best player will have the fewest. His game is wholy reliable from start to finish in every game.
Second, the best player in the NBA repeatedly does well in relevant statistical categories. He does not just shoot a lot. He carries out his assignment in every category. If he is a center or forward then the best player will score and rebound well. If he is a point guard he will have a bucket load of assists. No matter what position he plays, he will be a consistent defender.
Third, the best player is undeniably the emotional force behind the team. He is the on court team leader. When the team is lagging or out of sync, the best player gives his team a pick me up.
This year the one player who portrays these qualities in the most impressive fashion is LeBron James. He is dynamic. He scores, rebounds, has a good share of assists, and plays quality defense. And, he is undeniably the leader on the Cavs floor.
LeBron wins a second NBA MVP award signifying him as the best individual player in the league.
Not the Best Player if Cavs Don't Make the 2010 NBA Finals
The Cavs have gone out of the way to give LeBron a good enough supporting cast to get his team to the NBA Finals. With the aquisition of Antwan Jamison, the Cavs ended the season with the NBA's best record. Sure they played most of their games against a weak Eastern Conference, but still LeBron had to get this team to the 2010 NBA Finals to be considered the best player in the league or the best player label has to go back to Kobe Bryant.
Cavs Eliminated in 2010 NBA Playoff Quarterfinals
Can LeBron be the best player in the NBA if he cannot motivate his teammates to win the big show? Certainly he had an impressive triple double in Game 6 against the Celtics (27 pts., 19 Rebounds, 10 Assists), but eliminated in the quarterfinals? You have to make a stronger showing in the playoffs to be labeled the NBA's best overall player.
King James Bows to Peer Pressure
LeBron James chose to bow to peer pressure and move his game from Cleveland to Miami. Ultimately, LeBron moved to the Heat for the opportunity to win championships. Of course, championships are more important and memorable than individual stats for fewer people remember George "Iceman" Gervin or Charlie Scott who led the league in scoring but never won championships than Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, or Michael Jordan who won championships before scoring titles (Jordan did both). However, by this move LeBron shows that he is not the leader in the clubhouse or on the floor. For LeBron moved to join Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade rather than the other way around. If LeBron was willing to take a pay cut to play with those two in Miami and those two were willing to take pay cuts to play with LeBron, then they could have done so in Cleveland as well. But, Bosh said no to Cleveland and James had to comply or be left up in the cold. Some believe this move diminishes King James' brand; however, it only does so if the move does not result in championships. Still, James' decision to go along on someone elses ride takes away from his claim as the best player on the planet because the best player on the planet should show leadership skills which LeBron has yet to show.