1. The Los Angeles Lakers must finish as the third seed
The main reason why many people are doubting LeBron James going to the Los Angeles Lakers is the fact that the Lakers play in the stacked Western Conference. In the East, you could make the case that the Lakers could shock a team like the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors in the standings or the playoffs.
However, in the West, the Lakers have to deal with the obvious juggernaut in the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. The Oklahoma City Thunder could also present a threat and if Donovan Mitchell continues to improve, the Utah Jazz could be right up there.
The young, up-tempo Lakers can easily compete with the best teams in the Western Conference and could potentially go as far as the Western Conference Finals. Of course, the voting is done before the playoffs, so that will not help LeBron’s case.
Finishing in the top three in the loaded Western Conference will help James’ case, though. There are not many “gimme” games in the West and if the Lakers can finish as the third seed or better, that means the team was beating some of the best teams in the league consistently.
While LeBron could conceivably win the award with a lower playoff seeding, the difference between the third seed and the sixth seed is going to be huge when he is compared against his peers.