Giannis says, "I might be the MVP this year"
(CBSSports) Milwaukee Bucks positionless wonder Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most exciting young players in the NBA. He won the Most Improved Player award last season after putting up averages of 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists, leading the Bucks to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Now 22, the Greek Freak has improved at an alarming rate since coming into the league at age 19, and he apparently has his sights set on another accomplishment in the 2017-18 season: The MVP.
In an interview, Bucks play-by-play announcer Jim Paschke told Antetokounmpo that he probably wouldn't win Most Improved Player again next season, to which Antetokounmpo had a thought-provoking response (answer starts at 0:35 of the video below):
Paschke: You know you won't be Most Improved again because you were an All-Star starter, right? You probably won't win that award again.
Antetokounmpo: Why? I might be the MVP this year.
Paschke: I said Most Improved. MVP you can win.
Antetokounmpo: OK, but ... if I win the MVP, I can be the Most Improved.
Well, when you put it that way ...
This topic was brought up during the 2015-16 season, when reigning MVP Stephen Curry bumped up his scoring average from 23.8 points to 30.1 points in leading the Warriors to an NBA-record 73 wins. Curry was the unanimous MVP, but some argued that his dramatic improvement warranted the Most Improved Player award as well. Curry finished fourth in the MIP voting and received seven first-place votes, while Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum wound up taking home the honor.
As for Antetokounmpo, his name will most likely be somewhere in the MVP conversation this season. If healthy, the Bucks will probably improve on their 42 wins from last year, and Giannis will almost undoubtedly increase his averages across the board. Since most other MVP candidates are now paired with other superstars (Steph and Kevin Durant, James Harden and Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Paul George, LeBron James and -- possibly -- Kyrie Irving), the stage might be set for a dark horse to come in and take the league by storm.
As Antetokounmpo points out, why can't it be him?