Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the NBA’s most talented players. He put up historic numbers en route to the 2019 NBA MVP award, becoming the first Bucks player to win the prize since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
However, Giannis isn’t focusing on the past and looking towards the future. That’s why he hates being reminded he’s the reigning MVP.
Why doesn’t he want to be called MVP?
In a recent celebration event celebrating his MVP award, Giannis addressed the fans chanting “MVP” by saying:
“After this day, July 14, please, please, please do me this favor so I can be better, I can be a better player, I can lead this team to a championship. Don’t call me MVP.”
That shows he doesn’t want to be content with winning an individual award and is focused on team goals.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league for most of the season and finished with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. That was a contributing factor in him winning the award, but his stats were also excellent. He put up 28 points and 12 rebounds per game this season while shooting 58% from the floor.
The Bucks made easy work of the Pistons and the Celtics in the first two rounds of the playoffs. They faced a greater test in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Toronto Raptors. After the Bucks went up 2-0, the Raptors defense clamped down and won the next four games, before winning the NBA championship over Golden State.
Elevating his game
It is surprising that Giannis fell to No. 15 of the 2013 NBA Draft. He had the physical tools to stand out on a basketball court, but he has steadily improved his game. He went from averaging 20 points per game two seasons ago to 28 this past season, and if he can develop an average 3-point shot (25.3% in 2018-19), his offensive game could reach new heights.
What can Bucks fans expect from Antetokounmpo this season?
With Kawhi Leonard headed back to the Western Conference, we expect Giannis to go back to the top of the list for best player in the conference. It wouldn’t surprise us to see him have a similar season like 2018, and he could potentially contend for the scoring title this season.
The Eastern Conference won’t be as wide open as the west, but we think there will be three teams fighting for a shot to go to the Finals: Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Boston.
The Bucks lost Malcolm Brandon in a trade with Indiana, but they will still have a lot of offensive firepower. Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler, but it replaced him with Josh Richardson and Al Horford. We think Horford can have a huge impact on their lineup and in the locker room.
A disgruntled Kyrie Irving left the Celtics, but they added Kemba Walker, who not only brings the same type of scoring as Irving but who should be the leader in the locker room the team sorely missed last season.
Everyone else in the East won’t have much of a shot at the Finals barring an injury. We simply aren’t sold on Miami or Toronto winning three seven-game series to make it out of the conference.
Will Giannis Antetokounmpo have another MVP caliber season?
Are you expecting Giannis Antetokounmpo to have another great season? We think he can be the first back-to-back MVP since Steph Curry did it in 2016, as his offensive game continues to grow in a watered-down Eastern Conference. He’ll undoubtedly be the star of the show in Milwaukee next season, so he’ll have a great shot to add another MVP award to his trophy case.