Is Giannis Anetokumpo Underrated?


What Defines an MVP Award?

The MVP award is undoubtedly the most prestigious individual award in sports, but it is also the most controversial. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that people apply different standards in making their determination, and it is difficult to determine who is really the most valuable. The subjectivity of the award is also a major contributing factor to the controversy. Ideally, the MVP award should be determined based on the player’s impact on their team’s performance. If a player’s departure would cause the team to drop the most in the standings, then that player should be considered the MVP. However, not everyone uses this standard, which can lead to inconsistencies in the voting process.

This Year’s Race

In the race for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, one player who seems to be overlooked is Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite his excellent performance over the past month and his team’s leading position in the NBA, he has been relegated to third place in the betting odds. While the top two contenders, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, are undoubtedly deserving, Antetokounmpo’s contribution to his team and his statistical achievements make him a worthy candidate for the MVP award this season.

Antetokounmpo has been a consistent performer over the past month, creating 5.3 more points per game through his assists than Embiid. He has also been a critical player in the Bucks’ excellent defensive performance, which has ranked fourth in the NBA. The Bucks have dominated their opponents by 10.2 points per 100 possessions with Antetokounmpo on the floor while winning his bench minutes by 3.3 points per 100 possessions. In contrast, the 76ers have ranked 22nd defensively and have been better off with Embiid out, winning his bench minutes by 11.7 points per 100 possessions compared to 4.2 when he’s on the court.

An Overlooked Antetokounmpo

Despite his excellent performance, Antetokounmpo has been overlooked in the MVP race due to the emphasis on other statistical achievements. Embiid currently leads the scoring title, while Jokic has averaged a triple-double. However, these achievements do not necessarily translate to a winning team, as Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have overtaken the Boston Celtics for the NBA’s best record in the past month. This could prove massively important for MVP voters in the coming weeks. Historically speaking, having the best record in the NBA is highly valued in an MVP pursuit, as 18 of the past 30 MVPs have played for the team with the NBA’s best record. Antetokounmpo has achieved this feat with one of his most important teammates, Khris Middleton, missing half of the season and being on a minutes limit for most of it. In contrast, Embiid has never made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and Jokic’s ability to help his team win in the playoffs has been questioned. Winning important games is also a major consideration voters have to take into account as the award is based on who adds the most value to their team. 

Antetokounmpo’s past success has also been overlooked in the MVP race, as previous winners tend to get judged against their past selves. Antetokounmpo has already won the MVP award twice during his time in the NBA, and he is living up to his previous performances with a career-high 31.4 points per game this season. Although his efficiency has dipped slightly, his scoring volume has increased, and his performances have been consistent. There has been a pushback against the MVP award recently, especially Jokic’s second award, due to a lack of playoff success. However, Antetokounmpo is the only champion among the three leading candidates, having won the award in the past two postseasons. Voters who rely on playoff performance to rank players would have a hard time arguing against Antetokounmpo given his past achievements.

Why he Deserves the Award

Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves the MVP award for the 2023 NBA season, and there are several reasons why. Firstly, he has been one of the league’s best players for the past five years, having won two MVPs, a DPOY, and four All-Defensive First Team awards. His consistent dominance on both ends of the floor makes him a strong candidate for the award.

Secondly, despite the strong performances of other candidates like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, Giannis has been outstanding this season. He is currently averaging a career-high 31.5 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game while leading his team to the best record in the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks have a 50-19 record, which is a testament to Giannis’ leadership and impact on the court. Moreover, Giannis has improved his game significantly this season, especially in terms of his shooting. He is currently shooting a career-high 31.3% from three-point range, which makes him a more dangerous threat on offense. He has also been efficient from the field, shooting 56.4% overall.

The Argument for Jokic

Jokic’s overall impact on the game is unmatched by any other player in the league. His ability to score, rebound, and facilitate at an elite level, while also playing solid defense, makes him an all-around player and a true MVP candidate. Comparing Jokic to other top contenders, like Embiid and Antetokounmpo, shows that Jokic has been consistently performing at a high level throughout the season, while also leading his team to the top of the standings. In addition, Jokic’s durability and availability cannot be overlooked. He has played 64 of the 72 games this season, while other top contenders have missed significant time due to injuries or load management.


In conclusion, while Jokic and Embiid are deserving candidates for the MVP award, Antetokounmpo’s contribution to his team’s success and his past achievements should not be overlooked. His consistency and statistical performance over the past month, as well as his team’s leading position in the NBA, make him a strong candidate for the award. The emphasis on other statistical achievements should not detract from his contribution to his team’s success, and his past achievements should not be discounted. The MVP award should go to the player who has contributed the most to his team’s success, and Antetokounmpo has certainly done that this season.