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Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA MVP for the second year running



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USATSI

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks had a hard time in their second round against the Miami Heat when Jimmy Butler and Co. were able to send the best-staffed team in the east in five games. Given these circumstances, individual honors are probably the furthest away for anyone.

But it̵

7;s award season, and before Friday’s first game in the Western Conference final, Giannis was named NBA MVP for the second year in a row, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported and later confirmed by the league. He is the first player since Steph Curry in 2015 and 2016 to play in a row, and the eleventh ever to accomplish this feat. Antetokounmpo beat James Harden of the Rockets and LeBron James of the Lakers for the award.

With the arrival of Mike Budenholzer and his five-out system, Giannis took his game to a new level last season. Then somehow he played even better. He put up 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds – both career highs – 5.6 assists and one steal and one block per game.

Along the way, he led the Bucks to a 53-12 record before the season was interrupted and at one point let them chase the vaunted 70-win club. With Giannis in the lead, Milwaukee was seventh on the offensive, leading the Defense League by a wide margin, limiting the opposition to 102.5 points per 100 possessions.

For his efforts at that end, Giannis was named Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in his career. With the confirmation of his MVP Award, he is now the third player to take home these two trophies in the same year, along with Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

But as impressive as that is, there is another trophy that Giannis would like to add to his collection. To get it, he must lead the bucks to a comeback worthy of an MVP.




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