In a recent interview with Eric Woodyard of ESPN, the Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer was asked for his reaction regarding the league's recent announcement that the races for MVP and other regular-season individual awards are already over. Buhenholzer thinks that the NBA's decision makes a lot of sense, saying that the players were given enough opportunity to show whether they deserve to bring home a certain award or not. Regarding who should be named as the Most Valuable Player in the 2019-20 season, Budenholzer said that there's no other better option than Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
"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."
From the time he was selected as the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo has successfully turned himself into one of the best active players in the league. Now in his seventh season, the athlete continues to show massive improvement in his game. According to ESPN, he's currently averaging 29.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 games, 1.0 block, and 1.0 steal while shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from beyond the arc. With his incredible performance on both ends of the floor in 2019 and 2020, it's no surprise that Antetokounmpo is once again one of the frontrunners to win Most Valuable Player.
Antetokounmpo displays most of the qualities that people should be looking for an MVP. Aside from his unquestionable impact on both ends of the floor, Antetokounmpo has already grown into a proven leader on his team. If things go their way in Orlando, Antetokounmpo might be the first athlete to carry the Bucks back to the NBA Finals since 1974, ending their almost five-decade-long title drought.
However, winning back-to-back MVP won't be easy for Antetokounmpo as other legitimate NBA superstars are already making a strong case for bringing home the prestigious prize. Aside from Antetokounmpo, other strong MVP candidates this season include LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.
According to ESPN, if Antetokounmpo wins the 2019-20 MVP award, he would be joining James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to win multiple NBA MVPs at age 25 or younger. He would also join Tim Duncan and Steve Nash as the third player born outside the U.S. to win multiple MVPs.