Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is the No. 1 dark horse MVP candidate through 13 games of the 2023-24 NBA season. The four-time MVP is averaging 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.7 steals, and 34.4 minutes per game.
James, 38, is also shooting a career-best 58.6% from the floor, 39.7% beyond the arc, and 69.1% at the foul line. According to the BetOnline sportsbook, the 21-year veteran has 11th-shortest odds to win MVP this season.
The 19-time All-Star ranks 10th in points (343), 13th in assists (84), sixth in steals (22), eighth in player efficiency rating (26.1), sixth in box plus/minus (8.4), fourth in value over replacement player (1.2), and 18th in usage percentage (30.2%).
2023-24 NBA MVP Odds: Bet LeBron James to Win?
More importantly, the Lakers are 8-6 and rank sixth in the Western Conference standings. Not only is James leading Los Angeles in points (26.4) and assists (6.5) per game, but he broke his own record Sunday for the most points in a game by a player in year 21.
In the Lakers’ 105-104 win over the Houston Rockets, James recorded a season-high 37 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and three steals in 40 minutes of action. The four-time NBA champ shot 14-of-19 (73.7%) from the field, 2-of-5 (40%) from deep, and 7-of-9 (77.8%) at the line.
“That’s the LeBron we’ve all come to know and love over these 21 years,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.
It was the 237th time James has scored at least 35 points in a game, snapping a tie with Kobe Bryant for the third most such games in NBA history.
James could win NBA Clutch Player of the Year
Furthermore, James scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and gave the Lakers their fifth win in the last six games. It was his fifth 30-point game this season and his fourth in his last seven. The 19-time All-NBA member knocked down the go-ahead free throw with 1.9 seconds remaining as well.
Earlier in the game, James became the fourth player in NBA history with at least 10,500 assists (he finished with eight and is at 10,504). He also tied Vince Carter for seventh on the 3-pointers list with 2,290. Not to mention, the league’s all-time scorer moved past Clyde Drexler for eighth on the steals list at 2,208.
In fact, James is the sixth player in NBA history to play in his 21st season or beyond — joining Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, and Vince Carter, who has the all-time record with 22.
However, since the six-time All-Defensive member wants to play on an NBA team with Bronny, his eldest son, James should break Carter’s record in a couple of seasons.
Additionally, James is tied with Kevin Durant for the second-most points (38) in the clutch this season. Both stars trail Damian Lillard (39). DeMar DeRozan (36) ranks third and Stephen Curry (35) is fourth.
Per a few NBA betting sites, LeBron James has ninth-best odds to win NBA Clutch Player of the Year this season. Oddsmakers are showing better odds for Lillard, Luka Doncic, Durant, Curry, and other stars.
In other words, the future NBA Hall of Famer is in the running to win both awards.