We’re at a very strange time in not only the NBA, but the sports world in general. However, we recently received news that the NBA will resume the season and it seems like some of the best news we’ve heard in months. This break in action also gives us a chance to look back at what has happened so far this season.
This season was wild. Not only due to the circumstances regarding the coronavirus, but because it was some of the best basketball we’ve seen. Individual performances were off the charts this year. At the break in the season, FOURTEEN PLAYERS were averaging 25+ points. To put that in perspective, a decade ago, just seven players were averaging 25+ points.
Whether you credit that to a worsening defense or improving offense in this generation, scoring is off the charts. In the generation of three point shooting, players like James Harden, Trae Young, and Bradley Beal have been towards the top of the list. But one player, who is third in PPG, fourth in RPG, an all-time great in PER, deserves the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award… and he doesn’t need threes.
Giannis is someone who has a skill set and repertoire that we haven’t seen before. He has the strength and rebounding ability of a center, the speed and passing ability of a guard, and the scoring and driving ability of some of the all-time greats. He also possesses the ability to clamp up anyone in the league. His unique build and skills have proven to be something that other players and teams are struggling to figure out.
Last year, the Greek Freak won the MVP award while leading the Bucks to the best record in the league. This year, he’s doing it again, but on another level. Milwaukee finished with a 73% win percentage last season and at the break of this season, they have an 82% win percentage. That’s nearly a 10% jump from the best record in the league last year. So the team success is definitely there.
As I previously mentioned, he’s filling up the stat sheet. His 30 PPG and 14 RPG are both the most by any forward in the league. Not to mention his 6 APG which is only behind Lebron James and Draymond Green. He’s putting up numbers we haven’t seen by many in the history of the league. Moses Malone was the last person to average those numbers, and that was back in 1981! He’s also shooting a very efficient 55% from the field, which you can credit to his superior ability to get to the rim and score.
As impressive as the Greek Freak’s offensive ability is, it’s hard to ignore the impact he brings to Milwaukee’s defense. His height and wingspan is enough to harass his opponents, but the fact that he’s bigger, stronger, faster, and overall more athletic than all of his opponents is enough to completely deny someone from scoring.
Not to mention the hustle you see with him on the court. He puts in superb effort on both ends of the court, and it shows up on the stat sheet as well. He leads the league in defensive win shares and in defensive box plus/minus.
Player efficiency is a stat that has been tracked for a long time. It’s figured out by calculating (PTS + AST + REB + BLK + STL – Missed FG – Missed FT – TO) / GP. When you look at that single season stat, the top of the list consists of all-time great seasons like Wilt’s dominant seasons in the early 60’s, MJ’s 87’-88’ season, and Lebron’s 08’-09’ season. But now the 7th spot belongs to Giannis.
His 31.63 rating is outstanding. It’s also important to note that the 6 seasons that were ranked higher than Giannis didn’t see their teams have a higher win percentage then what Milwaukee currently has.
Lebron James has seemed to be the one giving Giannis competition for the MVP award. It seemed like the last month or so of the season his name was being mentioned more and more. However, I think it’s safe to say that Lebron hasn’t produced the resume Giannis has so far.
Lebron and Giannis are pretty even when you look at their offensive production, but the defense and efficiency is what really sets them apart. Lebron has stepped up from last season on that side of the ball, but he isn’t at Giannis’ DPOY caliber level.
So with all of that taken into consideration, Giannis Antetokoumpo deserves to be a back-to-back MVP winner. His play on both sides of the court, his ability to create for others, his ability to win, take good shots (and make them), his record breaking stats, and dominant play style are all reasons as to why he deserves to win NBA MVP for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
A season that will be remembered for the pandemic and other bigger-than-basketball events, outstanding performances across the league, and so much more, will also be remembered for the dominance displayed by Giannis Antetokounmpo. And if the league votes the way they should, it should also include the MVP trophy going to the Greek Freak.