Giannis Antetokounmpo might be the best player in the world right now because winning an NBA title last season was the icing on the cake to a spectacular 3-year run. The Greek Freak has led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA 2 out of the past 3 seasons and has improved his approach to the game every year.
Last season with the Bucks, Giannis had a spectacular Game 6 performance where he dropped 50 points including a 17-19 performance from the free-throw line. In many ways, that was one of the greatest closeout games in NBA history. But how do Antetokounmpo's past 3 years compare to the other best players in the league? It is time to uncover how great Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant have been over a similar period to announce the current face of the league.
Statistics: 26.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Achievements: 2x All-Star, 2019 All-NBA Team
Kevin Durant has missed the entire 2020 season and got back on the floor this year for the first time in over a year. He was absolutely sensational, averaging 26.9 PPG and carrying the Brooklyn Nets to the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Durant had a chance to lead his team to the Finals, but James Harden and Kyrie Irving got hurt and killed his team's chances of progressing past the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Durant might return in 2022 as the face of the NBA, but he has not been as great as Giannis has over the past 3 years because he missed an entire season due to injury.
Statistics: 29.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Achievements: 2x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Team
Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history and is a first-ballot Hall of Famer when all is said and done. The point guard has changed the way the game is played and is one of the most unstoppable players ever. Curry's past 3 seasons have been difficult because of injuries suffered to himself and his teammates.
But Curry did his thing, averaging close to 30 PPG and shooting 42.3% from three. Curry only played 5 games in the 2020 season and has been without Klay Thompson for the past 2 seasons. Making 2 All-Star Teams and 2 All-NBA Teams when healthy, Curry's achievements cannot compare to what Giannis has done in that span of time.
Statistics: 25.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 8.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Achievements: 2020 NBA Champion, 2020 Finals MVP, 3x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Team
LeBron James has been the consensus-best player in the world for the better part of a decade, but he might have to give the past 3 years to Giannis Antetokounmpo. LeBron won the NBA championship in the bubble last year, the same season he led the NBA in APG. Of course, James has made all 3 All-Star and 3 All-NBA Teams over the past 3 years.
But James never had a shot to snatch the MVP Awards from Giannis Antetokounmpo, and never came close to winning a Defensive Player of the Year Award. LeBron was spectacular individually, but his stats and achievements fall short in comparison to The Greek Freak which is truly saying something.
Statistics: 26.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Achievements: 2019 NBA Champion, 2019 Finals MVP, 3x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Team, 3x All-Defensive Team
Kawhi Leonard has been fantastic as a member of the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers over the past 3 years, winning an NBA title for the Raptors for the first time in their history and making 3 straight All-NBA and All-Defensive teams. In many ways, Leonard was fighting for a spot to be the face of the NBA.
But even with Leonard's tremendous success, he did not have the individual success that Giannis Antetokounmpo had. Leonard never came close to winning an MVP, and his last Defensive Player of the Year Award came when he was a Spur. Kawhi had the second-best run in that span of time as Giannis Antetokounmpo is crowned face of the NBA.
Statistics: 28.4 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.3 BPG
Achievements: 2021 NBA Champion, 2021 Finals MVP, 2x MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, 3x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Team, 3x All-Defense Team
When looking at stats and achievements alone, it is obvious no one comes close to Giannis Antetokounmpo as the best player over the past 3 years. Antetokounmpo is a spectacular player on both ends of the floor and is in his absolute prime right now.
Leading the Bucks to their first title since 1971 was a special achievement on its own, but winning 2 MVPs and a Defensive Player of the Year Award places him in special company. Only 1 other player has ever won MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year and that is the GOAT Michael Jordan. Antetokounmpo is the current face of the NBA and nobody comes close based on raw stats and overall achievements.