Moore: Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Going to Win MVP, But Who Finishes 2nd?
Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James & Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is going back-to-back for MVP.
There are a few ways a player can secure MVP this early in the season:
- The player is amazing everyone to such a degree that there can be no other candidate remotely possible. The best recent example of this was Stephen Curry in 2016.
- The player is standing out so far amid an uninspiring field. This doesn’t mean the player wasn’t amazing — just that it was a pretty standard MVP season (if there is such a thing) and no one else really hit that level. Kevin Durant in 2014 is a fine example.
- The player has a resume no one can refute. LeBron James in 2013 is an example, and that’s where Giannis sits. James Harden in 2018 is another.
The numbers are indeed historic. Only two players in NBA history have averaged 30-13-5 on 50% shooting: Giannis and Wilt Chamberlain. He’s the only player in history to average 30-13-5 in less than 31 minutes per game. If he played 36 minutes per game — your standard star allotment — his averages would be 34 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists per game. No one’s ever averaged those numbers per 36 minutes… except for Antetokounmpo.
Oh, and have I mentioned that his team is on pace for 69.8 wins, with an outside shot at tying at least Jordan’s 1996 Bulls with 72? And that they have a seven-game lead in the loss column on Toronto, almost assuring that they will finish with the East’s No. 1 seed?
So yeah, this thing is just about done. Harden and Luka Doncic couldn’t maintain their blistering statistical paces, and the Lakers are dominant but not quite as dominant as they were earlier in the season.
Any argument for another MVP, and there will be some, will have to run up against “OK, but what’s the argument against Giannis?” How do you give it to James or Doncic or Damian Lillard in the face of the overall dominance Giannis has exerted on the league this season?
Some voters will go contrarian because that’s what they do. I would very much take the odds that Antetokounmpo will not finish as unanimous MVP. But there are seasons in which you cannot justify any other choice. This is one.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will win the 2019-20 MVP award …
… but who’s going to win runner-up?
We reached out to PointsBet, who offered this prop for the MVP runner-up this season.
Odds as of Monday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
- LeBron James: +150
- Luka Doncic: +180
- James Harden: +350
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: +500
- Anthony Davis: +750
- Damian Lillard: +1200
- Kawhi Leonard: +2000
- Nikola Jokic: +4000
- Jimmy Butler: +5000
Let’s run through them all to find the best values.