Ranking the biggest threats to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s third MVP award

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 30: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 19 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Giannis Antetokounmpo is having another Most Valuable Player-worthy season for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The two-time regular season MVP and reigning Finals MVP has been unbelievable once again and has carried the inconsistent Bucks through a season that has been ravaged by injuries and illnesses.

In 43 games, he’s averaging 28.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.4 blocks. His overall efficiency is down from last season to 61.7 percent true shooting but the more important part is that he’s having his best free throw shooting year of the last three seasons at over 72 percent, capped off by a 77.5 percent month of January at the line.

Even though he’s been unreal, there’s still a bunch of other contenders for the top regular season award. Whether it’s individual dominance, team dominance, or a breakout season, I’d argue that there are more than five legitimate contenders for MVP and that’s not even including Antetokounmpo. So, if we narrow it down to five, who are the biggest threats to his third MVP?

Biggest threats to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s third MVP – Honorable mention: Kevin Durant

It would be hard to talk about the MVP race without mentioning Kevin Durant. Before he began missing games with an MCL sprain, I’d say he was right in the thick of things and a true contender alongside Antetokounmpo for MVP.

He’s averaging over 29 points on 62.6 percent true shooting to go along with 7.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and nearly a steal and block per game. He carried the Brooklyn Nets while James Harden was, uh, not himself to begin the season and there’s been a massive hole in their offense without him (as there should be).

He’s expected to be out until after the All-Star break, so it’s hard for me to consider him a true contender but I wanted to express admiration for him this season.

Biggest threats to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s third MVP – #5: LeBron James

I really can’t describe how cool it is to see LeBron James doing what he’s been doing this season at 37-years-old.

He’s missed a ton of games this season but, when he’s been available, has been one of the most dominant forces in the league yet again. James is averaging 29.1 points on 61.9 percent true shooting, 7.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game.

The true shooting is the fourth-highest mark of his career and the best in the last four seasons and is averaging the most points in his career since his first stint in Cleveland! It really cannot be understated how good he’s been.

The biggest things holding him back are that he’s missed a bunch of games and is expected to miss more with a knee injury but also that the team around him has been pretty not great! It’s hard to win MVP if your team isn’t one of the three best teams in the conference and the Los Angeles Lakers don’t profile as one of those teams this season, which is unfortunate considering how good the King has been.