Here’s why Giannis Antetokounmpo could ultimately face the same disappointment as Houston Rockets guard James Harden, as it pertains to the MVP vote this season.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden has had a bit of a feud with 2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo this season, although he’s refrained from taking shots at him. In fact, we’ve seen Giannis make two comments this season about Harden, while Harden has yet to actually speak on Giannis’s name.
The skirmish likely started as a result of Harden making it known that he felt he was snubbed for the 2019 MVP, which was a valid point considering the historical season he had. On top of that, Harden lifted the Houston Rockets from the bottom of the Western Conference to a top-four playoff team that season.
Giannis had a great season and was awarded with the MVP award, based on the popular media narrative that he did more for the Bucks and meant more to his team than Harden. Although that was far from the case, it was the media narrative that allowed Giannis to win the MVP.
Harden was made out to look like a sore loser upon speaking out about the snub, and Rockets fans were blasted by the media, as they were called sensitive and became the laughingstock of NBA fanbases. On the flip side, Giannis was made out to be the humble rags-to-riches superstar, and Bucks fans were happy the MVP vote went in their favor.
The tables have turned mightily this season regarding Giannis and the MVP race, as he’s no longer the media favorite. The national media has made it clear who they want to win the MVP, and it’s LeBron James, much to the chagrin of Milwaukee Bucks fans.
But there’s a case to be made for LeBron winning the award, as he has the Los Angeles Lakers in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the much tougher Western Conference. On top of that, LeBron’s Lakers just faced off against the Bucks and came out on top, not to mention how LeBron led the Lakers past the LA Clippers immediately after defeating Milwaukee.
Granted, there’s a case to be made for Giannis as well, as he averages 29.7 points per game, which is third-best in the league. Compare that to LBJ, who averages 25.7 points per game, which isn’t even the most on his own team, as Anthony Davis is averaging 26.7 points per game.
LBJ does average a league-leading 10.6 assists, which is a career high for him. Giannis is averaging 13.7 rebounds per game, which is third-best in the league as well. On top of that, Giannis doesn’t have an Anthony Davis equivalent on his team, as the second-best player on the Bucks in Khris Middleton.
Granted, Middleton is a two-time All-Star and is on pace to be in the rare 90-50-40 club, while also averaging 21 points per game, but he’s more of an All-Star while AD is a superstar. So in essence, Giannis is now going through the same thing Harden went through last season, as he’s had less help, although there weren’t any other Houston Rockets players who were named All-Stars during the 2018-19 season, so Harden went through worse.
Giannis also has a legitimate argument behind winning the award for a second time, but the media determines the outcome and they’ll find a way to give it to who they deem to be the most worthy, as they did Giannis last season. This is exactly what made Harden look like a crybaby in the eyes of many, and the exact thing is bound to happen to Giannis, once NBA play resumes.
It’s funny how the same media that turned Giannis into a darling during the 2018-19 season has dethroned him in favor of LeBron this season. Maybe now Giannis will get a taste of how Harden felt last season after being deserving of the trophy.
Perhaps losing the MVP battle because of the popular media pick being someone other than himself will give Giannis some humble pie. But above all else, it’ll allow him to see what Harden dealt with, and why he was so outspoken about it.