Giannis Antetokounmpo never suffered the NBA championship hangover and was able to help the Milwaukee Bucks compete when the rest of the team was still waking up from their 2020/21 success. Fortunately for the Greek Freak, the team has improved its level and now is fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
The 2022 MVP race is hotter than ever right now, with four players having serious chances to win the coveted award next year: Giannis, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Nikola Jokic. The former Golden State Warriors teammates led the NBA.com's MVP ladder during the first two months of the season, but now Antetokounmpo is stealing that first place.
Michael C. Wright provided the latest update on this incredible race, placing the 2x MVP atop of the list, surpassing Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry after two tumultuous weeks for the former leaders.
Curry’s recent shooting struggles and Durant missing three games going into Thursday played a role, but you can’t deny the roll Antetokounmpo has been on since returning to Milwaukee’s lineup. Shooting 56.3% over his last three games, Antetokounmpo has finished with 12 rebounds in two of his last three games, while averaging 32.3 points per game since Christmas to help the Bucks to a season-best 11 games above .500. Giannis is getting it done on the defensive end, too, defending a career-high 4.9 shots per game at the rim this season, giving up his second-lowest field percentage (47.1).
This is great news for Giannis, who hasn't slowed down, not even after winning his first championship last season. To make things better, his team is playing great basketball and right now trails the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat in the standings. They're aiming at the No. 1 seed and if the top 2 teams stumble, Antetokounmpo will be ready to cash in.
The Bucks are once again overlooked this season, but that hasn't been an issue for them. When nobody thinks they can do the job, Milwaukee proves doubters wrong. Giannis is averaging 27.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and 5.8 APG while shooting 53.3% from the field and 68.7% from the free-throw line. He jumped from 5th position to the top in one week, showing he's still going strong.