Giannis Antetokounmpo was absolutely spectacular for the Milwaukee Bucks this season, taking home his second straight MVP Award by beating out LeBron James. Unfortunately for the Greek Freak, the award announced today feels a bit tainted by the team’s poor playoff showing.
On paper, the award makes total sense. He averaged 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, both up from last year’s MVP season, in fewer minutes per game. The Bucks were an NBA-best 56-17 in the regular season.
LeBron was also magnificent, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 52-19 record with 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and a league-high 10.2 assists per game as the team’s de facto point guard. Giannis didn’t have an All-NBA player like Anthony Davis as his No. 2 though, which helped his care.
Voting reflected that this was not considered a major debate. Giannis had 85 first place votes, vs. 16 for LeBron. The full voting breakdown:
Giannis Antetokounmpo wins back-to-back MVP.
Full voting results: pic.twitter.com/XoFG9lkLUe
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) September 18, 2020
The playoffs have called into question a lot about Giannis Antetokounmpo and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks. The team went down in five games to the Miami Heat in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Giannis went out in Game 4 of the playoffs after 11 minutes, and missed Game 5.
After the series, he reportedly met with Bucks ownership to discuss the future of the franchise. That has led to numerous reports and rumors, everything from the team making a blockbuster trade to add Chris Paul, to the notion that Giannis is definitely leaving when his contract is up after next season.
In any case, the pressure is on in a serious way. The Greek Freak certainly knows it as well. In an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson today, he said that people shouldn’t “call me MVP until I’m a champion.”
“Don’t call me MVP until i’m a champion.”
– Giannis Antetokounmpo pic.twitter.com/TcjAAEb7ZL
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) September 18, 2020
Giannis is only 25 years old. The fact that he is already a two-time MVP puts him in rarified air. It would be a mild surprise if he went his whole career without winning a title. The question remains: will he do it in Milwaukee, or elsewhere?