By Godson Umejiego, Correspondent USA and Chinedu Nwosu
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA has announced .
This is the second straight Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award for Antetokounmpo, who becomes the 12th player to earn the honor in consecutive seasons. A native of Greece, Antetokounmpo is the first player from Europe to be selected as the NBA MVP more than once. Antetokounmpo, 25, also joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players to win multiple NBA MVP awards by the age of 25.
Antetokounmpo was previously named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He joins Michael Jordan (1987-88) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94) as the only players to be selected as the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player and the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. (The NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award was first presented in the 1982-83 season.)
Antetokounmpo received 85 of 101 first-place votes and earned 962 total points from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters as well as the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award fan vote. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James received the other 16 first-place votes and finished in second place with 753 points. Houston Rockets guard James Harden (367 points) finished in third place, followed by Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić (200 points) in fourth place and LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (168 points) in fifth place.
Players received 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five points for each third-place vote, three points for each fourth-place vote and one point for each fifth-place vote. The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played through March 11. The seeding games, which were played July 30 – Aug. 14 as part of the season restart, did not count toward voting for the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award or the league’s other traditional end-of-season awards.
In games played through March 11, Antetokounmpo averaged 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.04 steals and 1.02 blocks in 30.9 minutes in 57 games. During that time, he ranked third in the NBA in both scoring average and rebounding average. Antetokounmpo also shot 54.7 percent from the field and sank 83 three-pointers, which is 31 more threes than he made in any of his previous six seasons.
Behind Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee posted an NBA-leading 53-12 record in games played through March 11, a mark that included an 18-game winning streak Nov. 10 – Dec. 14. The four-time NBA All-Star selection helped the Bucks excel on both ends of the court as they led the league in net rating (outscoring opponents by 10.7 points per 100 possessions), scoring offense (118.6 ppg) and defensive rating (101.6 points allowed per 100 possessions) in their first 65 games of the season.
Antetokounmpo was honored as the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November, December and January, in addition to being named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week four times. He was also voted as a starter to the NBA All-Star Game for the fourth consecutive season, serving as a team captain for the second year in a row.
Among Antetokounmpo’s other accomplishments in games played through March 11:
- Led the NBA in double-doubles with 52.
- Recorded four triple-doubles.
- Posted 17 games with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds – 14 more than any other player.
- Grabbed 20 rebounds in a game twice.
- Scored 50 points against the Utah Jazz on Nov. 25.