For years to come, the NBA MVP award is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s to lose
The All-Star Break is often treated as the halfway point of the NBA season, even though it’s not.
But for today, let’s say it is. And at the halfway point of the season, the Most Valuable Player race is essentially all but finished.
You can send Giannis (-350) the MVP award already.Article continues below ...
“We thought last year was dominant? He’s actually better in most key categories this season… He’s an absolute freak of nature and what he’s doing is nothing short of astounding.” — @ToddFuhrman pic.twitter.com/XNtuEZduVM
— Lock It In (@LockItInonFS1) February 12, 2020
Congrats to Giannis. But now the question must be asked…how did we get here?
How is it that the NBA MVP award is wrapped up before the All-Star Break?
Well, it must be a nod to Giannis’ meteoric rise to superstar status.
This award used to be a competitive one. Over the last few seasons, Russell Westbrook and James Harden and LeBron James and Kevin Durant were always in contention.
But, those days are over.
Considering there are nearly 30 games left, those are massive odds in favor of Antetokounmpo.
He was named MVP last season by collecting 78 first-place votes. Houston Rockets guard James Harden finished in second, earning 23 first-place votes.
And now, he’s following up his decisive MVP win last season by having an even better season.
Giannis is having the best season of his career, averaging a career-high in points and rebounds, all while playing the second fewest minutes per game since his rookie season. He’s shooting 55 percent from the field – the second-best percentage of his career – and scarily, he’s connecting on nearly two threes per game.
Wait…Giannis shoots threes now?
You know how everyone kept saying “when Giannis gets a three, the rest of the league’s in trouble”?
Well, kids – we’re there. pic.twitter.com/irDOvh0QO7
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) December 20, 2019
Last season, he sometimes made one of the nearly three threes he attempted per game. This year, he’s attempting nearly five a game.
Let’s further the MVP debate in Antetokounmpo’s favor.
His team’s record is the best in the NBA (46-8,) leading the 40-12 Los Angeles Lakers (41-12) by 4.5 games.
And speaking of the Lakers, Giannis seems to be entering LeBron territory on a weekly basis.
Giannis joins LeBron (2x) as the only players to be named Player of the Month five straight times in the three-point era (since 1979-80). pic.twitter.com/1JjJRoaU1d
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 4, 2020
The last player to win back-to-back MVP awards was Steph Curry in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The second time he won the award, he became the only unanimous winner in the 61-year history of the NBA MVP award.
Barring anything crazy, Giannis will be the second unanimous MVP this year, and what’s to say he won’t win it again next year? And the year after that?
Winning helps your case, and he had the best team in the league last season and has it again this season.
Teams with 100+ points in each of their first 54 games of a season:
✅ 1960-61 Philadelphia Warriors
✅ 1966-67 San Francisco Warriors
✅ 1970-71 Phoenix Suns
✅ 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers
✅ 1979-80 San Antonio Spurs
✅ 1981-82 Denver Nuggets
✅ 2019-20 Milwaukee Bucks pic.twitter.com/fT2m7ZHT5M
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 13, 2020
Antetokounmpo is incredibly popular and relatable.
"He's playing in America. He's from Greece. He's going back to Nigeria, and he's going to play in the Olympics in Japan. By the end of this year, he could be the most popular basketball player on the planet." @MarcJSpearsESPN on Giannis Antetokounmpo
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 13, 2020
And…AND…he’s the best player in the NBA, and only getting better.
Remember the last time he played the former best player in the world?
"Giannis not only is going to be the best player in the world, maybe he already is. When he does officially become it, he's going to hold that title for 5-6 years. If he starts hitting 4-5 threes, good night and good luck to everybody." — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/Nxr03rhT7e
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) December 20, 2019
I wonder what the odds will be that Giannis wins the MVP next year.
Something tells us the race will be over before it begins…again.