With news of the NBA’s awards being decided on games before the season’s stoppage, Giannis Antetokounmpo should be crowned MVP again very soon.
There was some big news on Friday as reports emerged outlining the next steps in this season’s NBA award races.
According to the reporting of The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA has decided to give out its awards for the 2019-20 season based on play prior to the suspension of the season.
That means that although stats from the eight regular season seeding games to be played in Orlando will count toward the official records in terms of stats, the awards will be given out based on what the NBA perceives to be a more even playing field.
The logic of that process was specifically broken down in a quote shared by Charania, which reads:
“The decision to exclude seeding games from awards voting ensures a fair process in which players and coaches from all 30 teams will have the same opportunity to be honored.”
Of course, that means the focus for many will now shift to discussing who should be this year’s awards winners, and that will almost certainly spell good news from a Milwaukee Bucks perspective.
The consensus has long been that Giannis Antetokounmpo was on track to be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, and any hint of doubt should now be removed with confirmation of the criteria for this campaign.
When the season came to a halt, those eager to make a case for anyone else being deserving of the league’s leading individual award had a sliver of ammunition that wasn’t at their disposal up until that point in the year.
Not only had LeBron James rolled off a series of high profile performances in Lakers wins, including one against the Bucks, but Antetokounmpo had also suffered a knee injury in that same game.
Now, months later, that knee injury for Giannis has long since subsided and it seemed unlikely that anything would have changed in the awards context when the season resumed. Still, that is now an irrelevance.
Speaking on hearing the news of the decision, Mike Budenholzer told ESPN’s Eric Woodyard that he has little doubt of Antetokounmpo’s worthiness of back-to-back MVP honors:
“I had no idea that that was the case, but it makes sense. I think it was 64, 65, 66 games for different teams, so that’s certainly a significant body of work, and more importantly, certainly, Giannis, in our minds, has done more than enough to deserve a back-to-back MVP,” Budenholzer said. “What he does for us on both ends of the court, what he does every night, the way he sets the bar for us, culture-wise, work ethic-wise, just as a teammate. He’s an incredible teammate, plays unselfishly, does everything. And I think that’s kind of what the MVP is, so we certainly feel like he’s very deserving, and we’ll be excited to support him.”
Of course, the awards may not end with the MVP for Giannis, with the Greek superstar also viewed as one of the frontrunners for Defensive Player of the Year. If Antetokounmpo was to complete that historic double, he would join Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to have achieved that feat.
With voting now likely to take place soon, Giannis may not have too much longer to wait to find out just how many trophies he’ll be adding to his collection.