61°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Antetokounmpo for MVP?

Giannis+Antetokounmpo+of+the+Milwaukee+Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

When genetic testing is perfected, it would already be null and void for the National Basketball Association. Why? Well, they already have Giannis Antetokounmpo.

A physical specimen who is essentially a center with a forward’s speed and a guard’s skill set, Antetokounmpo is the most domineering player the NBA has ever seen. Yet, even with all of his physical traits, he didn’t get to put it together until last year and only this year. Finally, the beast was unleashed. In my opinion, Antetokounmpo will be the MVP of the league this year, no questions asked.

In the beginning, Antetokounmpo was regarded as a heavy draft project with a low ground and a high ceiling. Drafted in 2013, he was picked only 15th. Although 15th is still technically looked at as a high pick, it’s never deemed as a significant pick. But he was definitely a tad different. There was something intensely mysterious and terrifying about a 6’11” multi position player. His rookie year was nothing to gawk at, with averages of 6.6 points per game and 4.4 rebounds, but there was a terrifying spark that was sizzling.

Looking ahead towards the second year, Antetokounmpo started to blossom as a big man. No longer was he a confusing mesh of talent with only potential; he began to be geared toward being great. Ending the season with 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, Antetokounmpo started to really raise some eyebrows. His, then, career high of 29 points on 11 of 16 shooting gave the rest of the NBA a small taste of what was to come. Still skinny and still young, he was ready to rumble.

We were not ready for the 2016-2017 season: not the players, not the analysts, and definitely not the fans. Antetokounmpo threw the NBA in a huge loop. Up until this point, he was viewed as a hypothetical great. Comments like “He could develop a jumper, he could develop consistency, he could be a good passer” soon became “What have the gods given us?” With 22.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game, he was no longer overlooked. Many were starting to talk about the aging Lebron James and the mantle he carried. Was he the one to take it up?

All this leads up to this year, one of the greatest starts to a season I have ever seen. Throughout the first month of basketball, Antetokounmpo averaged an astounding 33.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists—63.2% from the field, 40% from the three point line—and a disgusting 36.3 PER GAME. Exactly what position are we looking at right now? A field goal percentage and rebounding like a center, a three-point percentage of a point guard, a scoring amount of a shooting guard, what anomaly is this? He has surpassed the means of a Swiss army knife; he brought nukes to a knife fight. He is outdoing every single person on the court with no one left to respond. Antetokounmpo has no competition for the MVP crown this season.

An overestimate? Sure. James is still averaging his miraculous numbers, Kevin Durant is always in the conversation, Steph Curry has the fans, but really? Are we going to seriously deny this man again? Again and again, Antetokounmpo has proven to break through all the hate and shatter expectations. The MVP title is in his grasp and there are no signs of him letting go.