J.R. Smith on LeBron James: 'We all know who the real MVP is'

Stephen Curry and James Harden may be dominating the MVP chats, but J.R. Smith makes the case for LeBron James

J.R. Smith has his opinion on who should be the NBA's MVP, and it's not Stephen Curry or James Harden.

While most of us may have narrowed the race down to the two stars who play for Golden State and Houston, Smith thinks we're overlooking an obvious choice -- his Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, LeBron James.

"There's a lot of speculation about who should get the award, but we all know who the real MVP is," Smith said after James' second triple-double (21 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) this season and 39th of his career Monday during the Cavaliers' 109-97 win over Detroit.

OK, so Smith might be a little biased, but he actually makes a pretty good point. While James' scoring average of 25.3 is his lowest since his rookie season in 2003-04, his value to his team is undeniable and, Smith says, pretty unique in the NBA.

"I mean, the numbers, what he does for teams," Smith said. "You see one year removed from a team like Miami -- and they probably won't even make the playoffs -- to a team that hasn't made the playoffs since he left and then, all of the sudden, we're a 52-win team. So, I don't think you can do that with anybody else that's in our league right now."

Just last week James said he would vote for himself as MVP if he could, but the superstar player really isn't in the national conversation this year.

James has won the MVP award four times already, which could be one reason why he's not considered one of the top choices this time around. Plus, it's hard to ignore what Curry and Harden have done for their teams this year.

But Smith says voters could really make it easy on themselves and just keep writing the same name year after year.

"Not to knock anything from the other two guys," Smith said. "They're having great years, career years for both of them, but if you want to be realistic about it, you could give it to [James] every time."

Twitter: @chewkiii

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9:26 a.m.: This post was updated with James saying he'd vote for himself as MVP.

This post was originally published at 7:57 a.m.