Morry Gash/Associated Press
Voting for 2019-20 NBA performance awards will only take games played up to and including March 11 into account, per a report from Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic on Friday.
Amid news that games played as part of the NBA’s restart won’t count toward award voting, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer backed Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for his second straight NBA MVP award.
Budenholzer said the following to reporters on Friday, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN:
“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.
“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.”
The NBA has been suspended since March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but will be making its return at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, beginning July 30. Each of the 22 teams participating will take part in eight regular-season games before a 16-team postseason to close the year.
It’s hard to argue against another MVP for Antetokounmpo, who averages 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game for the league-leading Bucks.
His 31.71 player efficiency rating is No. 1 in the league and well ahead of Houston Rockets guard James Harden’s at No. 2 (28.39), per ESPN.
He’s also an excellent defensive player as evidenced by his No. 1 defensive real plus-minus mark among qualified power forwards, per ESPN.
There doesn’t seem to be much question that Antetokounmpo will win his second straight MVP if odds are to be believed.
Per Alex Kolodziej of The Score, he’s a -2400 favorite to win, meaning a $2,400 bet will only net $100. The implied probability for such odds is 96 percent, per Odds Converter.
While Antetokounmpo will likely win the MVP award, he has his eyes on a much bigger prize. The Bucks are looking to win their first NBA title since the 1970-71 season.
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