This is a dramatic MVP race.
James Harden has put up historic scoring numbers in willing — seemingly singlehandedly for a healthy stretch of the season — the Houston Rockets to being probably the biggest threat to the Warriors in the West.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, finally put in an offensive system that plays to his strengths, he has exploded, dunking his way to 27.4 points per game, grabbing 12.5 rebounds a game, and leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA. All while playing Defensive Player of the Year level defense on the other end.
It’s a lot of drama. Then again, drama tends to follow around the game’s elite players: LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and this season even the quiet Kawhi Leonard because of his pending free agency.
Not Antetokounmpo. Which is how he wants it, he told Frank Isola of The Athletic.
“There’s no reason for drama,” Antetokounmpo told The Athletic. “We’re winning. Everyone is playing well. There’s no time for drama.”
Antetokounmpo will be in the shoes of Leonard and Davis in a couple of years, the end of his rookie contract extension will be coming up and he can push his way out of small-market Milwaukee to any team in the NBA he wants. Antetokounmpo can write his own ticket.
And the conventional wisdom around the NBA is he’s not going anywhere. The Bucks are winning, and to leave would mean drama.
“Giannis wants to win, we all want to win,” (Bucks’ co-owner Mark) Lasry says. “He wants to be able to compete for a championship. As long as we stay competitive, I believe he’ll stay here. In fact, other free agents will want to come to Milwaukee to play with Giannis.
“All Giannis wants is an opportunity to win. That what we all want.”
He’s got that. So why create more drama?