Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the all-time great players at his position already because his accolades and resume are already Hall of Fame worthy by the age of 27. By capturing the NBA title and Finals MVP with the Bucks last year, Giannis has thirst his name into the conversation as one of the best players to ever compete at the power forward position.
Of course, Antetokounmpo was already a superstar with an amazing resume before his title victory, because he is only one of five players to have ever won the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. That is an elite company for the 27-year-old to be in, and that is a testament to his greatness as a basketball player. But the Greek Freak is in the conversation for the MVP and DPOY this year again, and if he wins both, he could be the only player in NBA history to ever achieve both awards multiple times.
Only 5 Players In NBA History Have Won MVP And DPOY Awards
MVP (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), DPOY (1988)
The greatest player of all time headlines the list of 5 players who have won both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award at some point in their careers. Jordan could have realistically won the MVP every season he played, but he ended up with 5 awards on his resume.
The single most dominant player in the NBA for over a decade, there was no stopping MJ once he got to the league. Even before he was winning championships, Jordan was the best talent in the world and he won his first MVP and DPOY in 1988 by posting a league-high 35.0 PPG. Of course, the GOAT would add 4 more MVP awards to his name over the next 10 seasons.
MVP (1994), DPOY (1993, 1994)
Easily a top-5 center ever and one of the most skilled players of all time, Hakeem Olajuwon dominated the league between 1993 and 1995 at an almost incomparable level. The Dream won the DPOY in 1993 by posting averages of 1.8 SPG and 4.2 BPG for the Rockets, following that up with one of the greatest seasons ever by any player ever.
Olajuwon led the Rockets to the NBA title in 1994 by posting averages of 27.3 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 3.7 BPG. The best defensive player in the league, Olajuwon captured his second-straight DPOY while also winning MVP. Of course, The Dream captured the NBA title and Finals MVP award in 1994 as well.
MVP (1995), DPOY (1992)
A physical specimen with broad shoulders and incredible athleticism, David Robinson put up spectacular defensive numbers in 1992 when he averaged 12.2 RPG, 2.3 SPG, and a whopping 4.5 BPG en route to his first and only DPOY award.
The Admiral also won MVP three years later, posting 27.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.7 SPG, and 3.2 BPG for the San Antonio Spurs. An all-time great big man with two-way dominance, Robinson is one of the best players to ever play for the esteemed Spurs franchise.
MVP (2004), DPOY (2008)
Kevin Garnett is one of the most ruthless competitors of all time. He would never lead the Timberwolves to an NBA title, but in 2004, the power forward dropped 24.2 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 2.2 BPG. Minnesota dominated 58 victories in the season and Garnett was named MVP.
Luckily for The Big Ticket, the Boston Celtics snagged him away from the Timberwolves in one of the all-time greatest heists that gave the Celtics an NBA title in 2008. During the year, KG averaged 1.4 SPG and 1.3 BPG while winning Defensive Player of the Year.
MVP (2019, 2020), DPOY (2020)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a path to greatness. The Milwaukee Bucks superstar captured back-to-back MVPs in 2019 and 2020, despite not being able to lead his team to the promised land just yet. But The Greek Freak posted 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG to win his first MVP in 2019.
He followed that up with averages of 29.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.0 BPG while legitimately guarding five positions at a superstar level in 2020. He captured the DPOY and his second-straight MVP, and deservedly so, although Giannis would win his first title in 2021.
Giannis Can Become The Only Player In History With Multiple MVP And DPOY Awards
The Greek Freak can realistically win both the MVP and DPOY awards this season. First, his MVP case. Giannis has led the Milwaukee Bucks to the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference while posting elite numbers. In 67 games played, Giannis has averages of 29.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, and 1.4 BPG while shooting 55.3% from the field, 29.3% from three, and 72.2% from the free-throw line. He has the stiffest competition from Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, but the voters might opt for Giannis as the MVP.
Next, his DPOY argument. The Greek Freak can still defend all five positions during the course of an NBA game, and his averages of 1.1 SPG and 1.4 BPG are certainly elite. Giannis has the length, athleticism, and defensive IQ to be a nightmare on defense, and perhaps only Bam Adebayo and Jaren Jackson Jr. can compare to The Greek Freak in terms of impact on defense this year.
It will be hard for Giannis to convince enough voters that he deserves both awards, especially since Nikola Jokic has carried the Denver Nuggets into the playoffs without his two best teammates and Bam Adebayo is the best defender for the best team in the East. But in terms of combining both offense and defense, there isn’t a better two-way player than Giannis Antetokounmpo right now because the Bucks have the most dominant superstar in the game at this moment of time.
The Greek Freak Is Already One Of The Greatest Power Forwards Ever
There is no doubt that Giannis Antetokounmpo is a special player, and the future face of the league once the current superstars (LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant) officially retire. As of right now, Giannis is the best player in the world, and considering his two-way ability, it might not even be close.
What Giannis is doing for the Milwaukee Bucks is nothing short of impressive, because he has already won back-to-back MVPs, captured a Defensive Player of the Year award, and won a Finals MVP along with the elusive NBA championship. Adding to his resume a potential 3rd MVP award and second DPOY award, Giannis is continuing to build his resume as one of the all-time greats. So far, he is trying to crack the top-5 that includes Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Charles Barkley. Considering what Giannis had done, including winning an NBA title, he might have the argument of surpassing Sir Charles.
If Giannis can add another MVP and/or a Defensive Player of the Year award this season, it would be hard to argue that Barkley was a better player. The Milwaukee Bucks are also title-contenders once again this year, and with Giannis continuing to be their best player, adding another championship and Finals MVP would take his legacy to an entirely different level. Becoming the first player to win multiple MVPs and DPOY awards would take him over Charles, and winning another championship and Finals MVP could take him into the top-3 by the age of 27.
That is simply amazing, and if all those things happen (big if’s), he will only have Karl Malone and Tim Duncan in his sights. It is very likely that Giannis can someday usurp what Malone did in terms of winning, but catching Tim Duncan would be extremely difficult. The Big Fundamental played for 19 seasons with one franchise and captured 5 NBA titles, but anything is possible for the Greek Freak.
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