Move over Russell Westbrook there is not a repeat performance coming: Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to win the 2018 NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
Antetokounmpo, also known as “The Greek Freak”, put up a pedestrian 37 points while grabbing 13 rebounds last night in a victory at the TD Garden against the Boston Celtics. He was a monster and almost unstoppable going to the paint and once the Celtics decided to double team him, Antetokounmpo dished it out to Matthew Dellevadova for a dagger of a 3-pointer. “When you watched Giannis tonight, you thought, that’s an MVP candidate right there.” said Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens last night after the loss. Stevens isn’t wrong. The Milwaukee Bucks star looked like a MVP last night just like he will for the rest of the season.
Antetokounmpo broke out last year in the 2016-17 season by averaging 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. But this season his game is going to take the next step just like it has every year he has been in the league. For example, his shooting percentage his rookie year was 41.4% while last year in his all-star campaign, The Greek Freak shot 52.1%. Oh, and, by the way, he is only 22 years old.
The only thing Giannis can’t do at this point is jump shooting. I can assure you that Antetokounmpo worked on his jumper all offseason and it has to be better and if he can shoot just a little bit, it may be game over for other teams. He may not even have to shoot jumpers that well to win MVP. Last year, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook won the award by shooting 34.3% from 3 and 42.5% overall. Westbrook won MVP last year mostly because of his godly triple-double numbers but as you can see by his shooting percentage, he really wasn’t all that efficient. Then there is Giannis has not shot under 50% since 2014-15. Talk about efficiency.
After watching Antetokounmpo make an NBA court look like a Little Tikes hoop and Jaylen Brown look like a 13 year old, it persuaded me enough to believe in all the hype about him. His height, length, ball, handling, and defense all make up the perfect basketball player. At only 22, Antetokounmpo has already made his mark on the NBA landscape but this is the season when he goes from all-star to an unstoppable MVP.