Giannis Antetokounmpo was rewarded for being one of the league’s best players with the biggest deal in NBA history, re-upping with his Milwaukee Bucks. But while you’d think a deal that big would almost guarantee he rules over the league, he may have to get in line behind someone else for the MVP: Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks. Here’s why Doncic might be the NBA’s MVP this year despite Antetokounmpo’s contract.
Luka Doncic’s development
Almost immediately, Doncic had a major impact upon entering the league. According to Basketball-Reference, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Doncic with the third overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft before trading his draft rights to the Mavs for Trae Young. In his rookie season, he averaged 21.2 points per game. While he started his career off well, he really broke out last year, averaging 28.8 points per game. Through two games this season, his scoring average is up to 29.5 points per game.
After his first season, fans and media alike were high on Doncic’s game. It became clear in 2020 however, that he was more than just an All-Star level player. Doncic is looking more and more like a generational talent with each game. He was talked about as a potentially great player during his rookie season. Last year, his name was thrown around as a potential all-time great if his development continues.
How the Mavs’ roster will complement Luka Doncic’s game
The MVP Award often goes to the best player, but it also often goes to the best player on the best team. That means that the award winner’s team’s performance matters. That said, the Mavs have a great roster built around Doncic, so he may be looking at a competitive squad in 2020.
For one thing, Dallas hopes to have big man Kristaps Porzingis healthy for the entire season. The dynamic duo of Doncic and Porzingis, with both at full strength, could rival historically great guard-big man combos like Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp or John Stockton and Karl Malone. The key is for Porzingis to stay on the floor.
The team acquired Josh Richardson from Philadelphia after trading Seth Curry. According to The Smoking Cuban, the team also made a few solid value signings in Trey Burke and Willie Cauley-Stein. The bottom line is that they have plenty of pieces around Doncic to build on last year’s playoff appearance. Now they’ll look to see if they can advance beyond the first round after breaking a several-year playoff drought last season.
Why Luka Doncic may become the MVP over Giannis Antetokounmpo
You can bet on just about anything, including who’s going to win major awards in professional sports. Even though he has the biggest contract in the league, sports bettors don’t like Antetokounmpo as the favorite to win the MVP. The clear favorite who’s emerged is Doncic, according to ESPN. One sports bettor said that Doncic has been the MVP bet in one out of every three bets placed on the award.
Does this have any significance? Maybe, maybe not. It obviously won’t influence the award. But bettors often send their money after the best bets and sure things. Doncic is playing at an MVP level, possibly more so than Antetokounmpo. Both players are probably going to be top five finishers in the final voting,
It also depends on which team finishes better. If the Bucks have another banner regular season, Antetokounmpo may have the inside shot to win the MVP. But even if the Mavs don’t have a better season than Milwaukee, Doncic has the ability to put up ridiculous numbers that could put him over the top in the MVP race.