Giannis Antetokounmpo absolutely dominated the regular season.
That can be easy to forget. Coronavirus caused a lengthy interruption. In the spotlight when play resumed, Antetokounmpo underwhelmed. The Bucks flamed out in the second round.
So, this timing is awkward.
But MVP is a regular-season award, and Antetokounmpo will deservedly win his second straight.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Antetokounmpo’s performance comes as speculation intensifies about his future in Milwaukee.
He’ll be eligible for a super-max extension this offseason. If he bypasses it, he’ll also be eligible for a super-max contract in 2021 free agency.
Because of this award, Antetokounmpo will now also be eligible to sign a super-max deal in 2022 free agency.
Maybe he won’t be a free agent that offseason. But this opens his options if he takes a shorter contract to let league-wide revenue rise post-pandemic and/or further assess the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo has that type of leverage. At just 25, he put himself in the pantheon of players to win consecutive MVPs:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Stephen Curry
- LeBron James
- Steve Nash
- Tim Duncan
- Michael Jordan
- Magic Johnson
- Larry Bird
- Moses Malone
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Wilt Chamberlain
- Bill Russell
Antetokounmpo has a bright future, especially with the mentality to fix his shortcomings. He must polish his skills (and maybe approach) to thrive in the playoffs. But it’s easy to project growth there.
Already, Antetokounmpo has the regular season solved.
He joins Michael Jordan (1988) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994) as the only players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Fun fact: Jordan’s Bulls also lost in the second round in five games the year he claimed both awards. It got better for Jordan and Chicago from there, eventually.
LeBron and James Harden finished second and third in some order for 2020 MVP. The NBA will officially announce the winner at 2 p.m. Presumably, we’ll also get full voting then.