The MVP race this year is one for the ages. Both LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo have very strong arguments to take the award home and it just seems like we can't decide who's more worthy of it.
ESPN's Rachel Nichols brought together Magic Johnson, Tracy McGrady, and Scottie Pippen to debate whether LeBron or Giannis should be named MVP this season and none of them could get in the same page.
Magic, obviously, got LeBron's back from start to finish. He thinks Giannis is having a hell of a season but the fact that James took Anthony Davis to a whole new level and lead the Lakers' core should be enough to win the award:
"LeBron affects the game in so many different ways and this year he's almost averaging a triple-double and when you think about the way he's played defense and then last but not least, the way he's been an incredible leader. He's really brought those guys together and kept them going and LeBron himself also is on a mission, right? He wants to show people that he can go from Cleveland to the Lakers and win a championship, especially with all the history the Lakers have, so I think LeBron has played unbelievable the season and really took AD's game to a whole other level," Johnson said.
McGrady, on the other hand, thinks Giannis should win the award because of the hard work he's put on the defensive end as well. He lauded LeBron's longevity and production but thinks that playing with Anthony Davis makes it easier for him this time:
"I gotta go with Giannis. I just think from the first game this kid has been on a mission and he arguably can be the Defensive Player of the Year also, so he's playing both ends. I can't take anything away from what LeBron James is doing in his 17th year which is incredible to put up the numbers but we can't forget he's also playing with a 1st team All-NBA in Anthony Davis," McGrady added.
And last, but not least, Pippen couldn't even make his mind. He claimed to be impressed by LeBron's ability to perform at such a high level on year 17 but thinks the league should just stop messing around and hand out two MVP awards this time:
"Obviously, Giannis, trying to get his team back to the Eastern Conference Finals, hopefully, to play in the NBA Finals, but the work that LeBron has put over the years, what he's been able to do from team to team and his longevity. That, to me, says a lot. Being a guy that played 17 years on this league and was hanging on my last leg at that time, I take my hat off. I don't want to take nothing away from any one of these guys. If the league is ever to split an MVP, this is their chance to step up," Pippen concluded.
LeBron is currently averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.6 assists (league-high), 1.2 steals, and 2.2 three-pointers on 49/39/69 shooting and 34.9 minutes a night, leading the Lakers to the best record in the West.
Giannis, on the other hand, holds averages of 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 1.5 three-pointers on 54/30/63 shooting and just over 30 minutes per game, with the Bucks owning the best record overall. This one's as close as it gets.