Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named as a finalist for the NBA’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards for 2019-20.
As the Milwaukee Bucks continue their pursuit of an NBA championship in Orlando, news on Saturday highlighted how the Larry O’Brien trophy may not be the only piece of hardware the franchise could finish this season with.
With the NBA announcing the finalists for its 2019-20 awards, the Bucks were represented in three of the six categories as they’ll look to repeat their awards success from a year ago.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was one of the finalists for both the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards, repeating his achievement from last year when he was also a finalist in both categories and came away as the MVP winner.
Meanwhile having recently been recognised as a joint winner of the Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year award for the current season, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is also in the running for this year’s honor from the NBA. Of course, Coach Bud is also the reigning Coach of the Year winner.
Those three categories offered up no shocks from a Milwaukee perspective, although there will be some disappointment that neither Brook Lopez or George Hill earned finalist spots for Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year, respectively.
As for the finalists in the categories that featured Bucks’ representatives, Budenholzer is joined by Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, and Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan, the latter of whom has already shared Coaches Association honors with Bud for the season.
In the MVP race, Giannis will go up against James Harden, who will undoubtedly be given further reason to complain about rightfully losing out to Antetokounmpo for a second time, and LeBron James, who in pursuit of his fifth MVP win has been Giannis’ closest rival all season long.
On the Defensive Player of the Year front, James’ Lakers teammate Anthony Davis and reigning winner Rudy Gobert are the only two people who can potentially stand in the way of Giannis getting his hands on that trophy for a first time.
Antetokounmpo is currently deemed to be a clear favorite in the MVP race, and also looks to be the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year.
If Giannis was to claim both awards when the winners are officially announced, he would join Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to ever win both awards in a single season, and enter into even more rarefied territory in terms of his overall legacy.
Considering Giannis is still just 25, this could ultimately prove to still be only the beginning for him in terms of accolades. Who knows, this season could even see him pick up an NBA championship and a Finals MVP award too, if all goes to plan for the Bucks in Orlando.