Who's The Real MVP?
The NBA’s remaining regular-season games reportedly won’t factor into the voting process for the league’s major awards, meaning voters will be asked to base their decisions on the action leading up to March 11.
That includes the 2019-20 MVP, which largely was deemed a two-man race between Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
And with bubble games no longer a potential factor, First Things First's Nick Wright revealed his top 5 MVP candidates on Tuesday, with Greek Freak holding a narrow lead over the King.
"We were tracking the MVP race like a horse race throughout the season, and Giannis led the whole way. Now, right before the shutdown, LeBron had gained significant ground. But, Giannis was still the leader, and now the season freezes in time there. Giannis deserves this award."
In the 10 games prior to the hiatus, James averaged 30 points, 9.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds, all at the seasoned age of 35.
Be that as it may, FOX Sports NBA analyst Chris Broussard agrees with Wright that Giannis is the frontrunner to repeat as MVP.
"Giannis' regular numbers – points, rebounds, field goal percentage – are better. His analytical numbers are better. His PER, only Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and LeBron once, have ever had a better PER than what Giannis is doing now. It's more than 3 points higher than anybody else in the league. He's got the best record in the league without a second superstar, nobody close to an Anthony Davis."
But it might not be as “cut and dry,” as Broussard said, according to former NBA center Kendrick Perkins, who made the case for James as MVP on ESPN's Get Up on Tuesday:
“If you take Giannis off the Milwaukee Bucks, the Milwaukee Bucks are still a good team in a weak Eastern Conference … You take LeBron James off the Los Angeles Lakers, they might be an 8-seed in the West. That’s a big might.”
Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard is on “Team LeBron,” too, expressing his opinion on Jalen & Jacoby back in May:
And as far as LeBron's opinion goes?
He's "Team-Lillard-and-Perkins" all the way.
No matter how you slice it, picking either James or Antetokounmpo to win MVP is a safe bet.
And speaking of, whichever of the two superstars doesn’t take home the MVP hardware this season might have a shot at revenge in the NBA Finals. According to FOXBet, a Lakers-Bucks matchup is the odds-on favorite at +290.
What a spectacle that would be.