After finishing the season averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and nearly six assists per game, Giannis Antetokounmpo won the 2019 NBA MVP Award. He has placed himself firmly among the league’s greatest players while leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
With major shakeups happening to multiple teams in the Eastern Conference, could we look at another great season from the Greek Freak in 2020? Before we get ahead of ourselves, we will look at the five best plays he made during his MVP season.
5. Posterizing Kosta Koufos
In a blowout game against the Sacramento Kings, Giannis slashed through the Kings defense and threw down a hammer of a one-handed dunk on Kosta Koufos. He isn’t known for his defense, so we are sitting here scratching our heads wondering why he attempted to go for the block, but we are thankful he did, making a great memory in the process. Koufos may still be feeling the ultimate humiliation from this dunk.
4. Eurostep dunk on Alex Len
Slowing down Giannis Anteteokounmpo in the fast break is one of the toughest things a player can try to do on an NBA floor. He stands at nearly seven feet tall, so it is amazing anytime someone tries to deliver contact to the Bucks’ superstar. As he came down the lane against the Hawks, Antetokounmpo performed a Eurostep move, but somehow transitioned it into a one hand jam in Len’s grill. An easy candidate for dunk of the year.
3. Spinning finger roll vs. Kings
The Kings make this list again, this time because of a graceful move by the league MVP. Heading to the rim on the fast break, Sacramento expected a tomahawk slam from Giannis.
Instead, he performed a spin move and finished it off with a finger roll using his left hand. It wowed the crowd and showed opposing players he didn’t always have to beat you with brute force.
2. Coast-to-coast slam
Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t one of the fastest players in terms of pure speed, but his length makes getting up and down the court an easy thing for him. He can go from one end of the court to the other in three dribbles, and it makes slowing him down in transition that much harder to do. In the first round of the playoffs against the Pistons, he went three-quarters of the court in one dribble and threw down a monster slam at the other end.
He averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds per game in the first round, including a 41-point performance in the sweep-clinching win.
1. Dunk on Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is one of the most disliked players in the league. His cocky attitude continually rubs players the wrong way. In a regular season matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, Giannis took a pass in the post area, backed Simmons down to the hoop, and then turned around and slammed the ball in Simmons’ face, staring him down afterward.
This was easily the most disrespectful play of the MVP’s season and put his name on the list of the most feared dunkers in the league today. Simmons retaliated with a dunk of his own on the next possession, but Antetokounmpo clearly got the better of the two exchanges.
So, what was your favorite moment from the NBA MVP’s season? Giannis Antetokounmpo made dozens of highlight plays during the 2018-19 season that could have made the list, (it’s why he won the NBA MVP award), but which one was your favorite?