LeBron James is playing on a different level in the NBA playoffs but the Cleveland Cavaliers star did not make it on the shortlist for the MVP award.
The NBA announced three finalists for its first-ever awards show on Friday and four-time MVP James did not make the cut despite averaging 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists during the regular season.
Instead, the honour will go to either San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, Oklahoma City Thunder’s triple-double king Russell Westbrook or Houston Rockets guard James Harden.
Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double this past season, is listed as the favourite to win having eclipsed Oscar Robertson’s single-season record with 42 triple-doubles.
The Thunder star also led the NBA in total points scored, while averaging 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists.
Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds, after becoming the first player to post 2,000 points and assist on 2,000 points in a single season.
As for Leonard – who is nursing an ankle injury in the Western Conference finals – he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
The Coach of the Year will be decided between Mike D’Antoni of the Houston Rockets, the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra and Spurs boss Gregg Popovich.
Here are the finalists for the other categories, with the winners to be announced on June 26:
Sixth Man of the Year
Rookie of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Most Improved Player
Block of the Year
Hassan Whiteside on Pascal Siakam
Kristaps Porzingis on Spencer Dinwiddie
Kawhi Leonard on James Harden
Game-Winner of the Year
Tyler Uulis vs. Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving vs. Golden State Warriors
Russell Westbrook vs. Denver Nuggets
Assist of the Year
Draymond Green to Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant
Nikola Jokic to Wilson Chandler
Chris Paul to Brandon Bass
Dunk of the Year
Larry Nance Jr. on Brook Lopez
Zach LaVine on Alex Len
Victor Oladipo on Dwight Howard
Performance of the Year
James Harden vs. New York Knicks
Devin Booker vs. Boston Celtics
Russell Westbrook vs. Orlando Magic
Klay Thompson vs. Indiana Pacers