Giannis Antetokounmpo is the 2020 MVP and DPOY. In today’s episode we will study this in depth and make the clear as to why he will win both awards by a wide margin. This topic was discussed in Episode 68 We also covered Alyssa Nakken becoming the first female coach in major league history, and the NBA setting a date for the season award votes.

Overview: Giannis Antetokounmpo case for MVP and DPOY

He’s the best player on the league’s best team and having a ridiculously dominant season at both ends of the floor.

He averages 29.9 points (third in the NBA) and 13.7 rebounds (fourth in the NBA) per game. His 5.8 assists, an underrated part of his game, rank 28th.

Another season, another opportunity for Giannis Antetokounmpo to simultaneously contend for the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Giannis | LeBron 2020

Seriously, the extent of his dominance is getting out of hand. Somewhat buried beneath James Harden’s historic scoring eruption is Antetokounmpo’s own nightly salvos. He’s averaging over 30 points…in barely 31 minutes per game.

LeBron James put forth his best effort before the NBA’s suspension, but Giannis Antetokounmpo maintains a grip on the MVP award. His Milwaukee Bucks were 53-12 with an overall net rating of 10.7 when the season paused. They’re legitimately one of the best regular-season teams in NBA history, and Giannis is the primary reason. He averages 29.9 points (third in the NBA) and 13.7 rebounds (fourth in the NBA) per game. His 5.8 assists, an underrated part of his game, rank 28th.

It’s also important to remember that Giannis plays fewer minutes than other players because the Bucks dominate so much. By per-36 stats, he’s first by a significant margin in points and rebounds. Milwaukee outscores opponents by 16 points per 100 possessions when Giannis is on the floor. His MVP case is close to unassailable.

One element of his greatness this season that should not go overlooked: his otherworldly defensive impact.

In a year with multiple quality contenders for Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis has risen above. His defensive rating of 96.5 leads the league, and the Bucks as a team give up just 101 points per 100 possessions, three points fewer than second-place Toronto. 

Giannis is the defensive engine, covering every spot on the court with his wingspan and quickness. He’s surrounded by smart, effective defenders (particularly Brook Lopez, who also has a real case for DPOY) who give Giannis freedom to roam and disrupt. 

Defensive impact can be tough to quantify. Giannis rates very well by any measure. He leads the league in defensive win shares and defensive box plus-minus, and ranks third (tied with Lopez) in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR metric. When he’s the primary defender at the rim, he gives up a field goal percentage of just 41.8 percent, by far the best in the league. His overall defensive field goal percentage is 36 percent, the lowest in the NBA among players who defend at least nine shots per game.

Milwaukee’s defensive dominance with Giannis on the floor is further indication that he has been the best defender in the league this year. The Bucks gave up eight points fewer per 100 possessions with Giannis than without him, impressive considering that even without him, they conceded just 104.2 points per 100 possessions, a figure that would rank second in the NBA. Giannis carried the Bucks from good to great.

Giannis is the heartbeat of the operation, a modern switchable defender who goes everywhere and disrupts everything. He is the Defensive Player of the Year, and he should cruise to a second-straight MVP as well.

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