Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins Second MVP Award in Landslide

LeBron James bristles at receiving 16 first-place votes

Giannis Antetokounmpo won his second consecutive NBA MVP. LeBron James finished in second place with 16 first place votes.
LeBron James handles the ball while being guarded by Giannis Antetokounmpo during the 69th NBA All-Star Game.
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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo took home the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2019-20 NBA season. It is his second straight year being named NBA MVP.

Antetokounmpo won the award with ease. He had 85 of 101 first place votes and earned 962 total points in votes for MVP. The 6’11” forward was the driving force of the Bucks attack, leading the team to the best record in the NBA. He led the Bucks in scoring (29.5 points), rebounding (13.6) and assists (5.6).

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James finished in second place with 753 points and the other 16 first place votes. Houston Rockets guard James Harden finished in third place with 367 points.

Antetokounmpo joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

When the voting numbers were released on Friday, James was not happy. After the Lakers’ Game One win over the Denver Nuggets, the former four-time MVP spoke in his postgame press conference and was incredulous at the lack of votes he received for first place.

“Pissed me off. That’s my true answer,” James said in response to a question about how he felt about the voting results. “It pissed me off, because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes. That’s what pissed me off more than anything.

“You know, not saying that the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP. But that pissed me off. And I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship, and now four times as an MVP.”

James repeated his sentiments on social media right after his postgame comments.

James’ displeasure with the NBA MVP voting brings up a common point of discussion that has existed for at least a few seasons. Is the award based on the actual best player in the NBA or is it an award for the player who had the best individual season?

On Inside the NBA, there was a debate about James’ postgame comments and the validity to them. Draymond Green explained that the award is geared more towards the best individual season.

“But if you’re the best player in the world, that doesn’t always necessarily mean you had the best season,” said Green. “I think Giannis had a better season than LeBron.”

When asked to elaborate, Green went deeper into the thinking behind Antetokounmpo as MVP. “I think Giannis had a better season this year and last year. That’s fine. But if you’re starting a franchise, or picking a player to say ‘go get me a championship,’ you’re picking LeBron James, which simply tells you he is the best player in the world.”

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