After winning the award for the Most Improved Player for the 2016-2017 season, Giannis Antetokounmpo looks like a different beast this season. Numbers don’t lie and his stats have improved dramatically on both ends of the floor.
His playing style has become more aggressive, and he’s averaging 30 points per game, with most of them coming from inside the paint. Bare in mind that this is a guy who only recently turned 23 and has time to develop aspects of his game that are not there yet like the jumpshot and 3 point shooting. Just imagine how good he will be once this is added to his game.
Now, there’s a few reasons that seem to be pushing Giannis to be better this season:
The loss of his father
Giannis is a man that puts family over everything and has stated that time after time. The loss of his father early in the season surely has encouraged and inspired him to give everything on the floor.
The mamba effect
Giannis was challenged at the start of the season by Kobe Bryant himself to win the MVP award. Kobe always speaks highly of Giannis and prior to his jersey retirement ceremony this week, when asked which players he enjoys watching the most he replied: “Giannis is really, really fun to watch. The way he plays the game and the passion with which he plays, I love watching Giannis play.”
The injury of Jabari Parker and the addition of Eric Bledsoe
The injury of Jabari Parker last season has forced Giannis to be the main man in that Milwaukee team and having the most responsibility by playing multiple positions. The addition of Eric Bledsoe after he was traded from the Phoenix suns has also improved him. Giannis doesn’t have to worry anymore about the Point Guard position and the two of them seem to have an excellent chemistry.
What a better coach for Giannis to develop under. An Nba champion and 10x times all star, he surely knows a lot about basketball and is the right man for Giannis to learn a lot from. Kidd is managing a very young but talented Bucks team who seems to be playing good basketball and will only get better over the years.
Giannis MVP race will depend on how far they get to the play-offs this year after going out on the first round last year against the Raptors.
With that said , can Giannis win MVP this year?
He’s definitely an MVP calibre player and he will only get better, no doubt. There’s lots of high praise for him around the NBA but it’s too early in the season to judge who will win the MVP race.
There’s many players grinding every night, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving are some of the early candidates that come to mind and their franchises seem more likely to compete with the Golden State Warriors for a championship.
Giannis though, has a bright future ahead of him and i will be very surprised if he doesn’t win it over the coming years.