There was no doubt that Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo deserved to win the MVP for the 2018-19 NBA season. A case could be made for James Harden, but, when push comes to shove– Antetokounmpo deserved it just a little bit more.
But can he do it again next season?
Most sportsbooks (if not all) already have him installed as the favorite to win MVP next season. With Malcolm Brogdon now in Indiana, the Bucks will need him to do a little bit more to fill the void. Doing so will give him the opportunity to continue to grow, because, in his own words, his game has a lot of room for improvement.
“A lot of people say, ‘You are the MVP, you are one of the best players in the league, you are so dominant,'” he said while speaking with ESPN Saturday. “But I think I can get better. I think I am at 60 percent of my potential, as good as I can be. I just want to be better….”
After averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game last year, it may be surprising to hear him say he has only reached 60 percent of his potential. Then again, he is only 24. At his age, his game should still be developing and growing.
Should he reach more of his potential next season, there is a very good chance he could repeat as MVP. He sounded pretty confident Sunday at a fan event celebrating his MVP award, via ESPN:
“After this day, please don’t call me the MVP until I win it again next year.”
However, not that winning this season was easy, but winning next season is going to require a truly exceptional year. According to oddsmakers, the competition is going to be stiff (via BetOnline.ag):
- Giannis Antetokounmpo +300
- James Harden +300
- Stephen Curry +500
- Kawhi Leonard +450
- LeBron James +900
- Anthony Davis +1000
- Joel Embid +1200
- Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic +1600
- Karl Anthony Towns +2000
- Paul George, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook +2500
- Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving +3300
- Zion Williamson +5000
With Malcolm Brogdon gone, the opportunity for him to do more will undoubtedly give Antetokounmpo’s candidacy a real boost. But now that he will have Russell Westbrook occupying defenders, James Harden could generate a stat line impossible to ignore.
While the Warriors are being written off by many, Steph Curry is going to have the perfect opportunity to remind people how great he really is.
Either Anthony Davis or LeBron James will emerge as a serious candidate from the Lakers. The same can be said for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with the Clippers.
Fans shouldn’t be shocked if Damian Lillard or Donovan Mitchell is in the conversation at the end of the year. Good players surround both, and if their teams are ranked in the top four come playoff time, they should be leading the conversation and not just in it.
So—back to the original question. Will Giannis Antetokounmpo win MVP again next year? He might, but it sure isn’t going to be easy.