As of this moment, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is the heavy favorite for this year’s NBA MVP Award. Antetokounmpo’s numbers are undeniable. He’s averaging 30 pts, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and a block. He has the Bucks firmly planted as the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and on pace for a 70-win season. Clearly he is having an NBA caliber season.
But hang on just one second. LeBron James at 35 years old and in his 17th season in the NBA is putting up one of the most complete seasons of his career. LeBron is averaging 25 pts, 8 rebounds, and leading the league with close to 11 assists per game. If LeBron was in the East, he would probably be putting up very similar numbers to Giannis.
Now, if we’re truly going to compare today’s greats, i.e. Giannis and LeBron to arguably the greatest player to ever lace them up in Michael Jordan, we have to do a deeper dive into the numbers. The year MJ turned 35 (the 97-98 season), he won the league’s MVP award, his team was on the backend of a three-peat, he won the scoring title averaging 28.7 ppg and played in all 82 games. He did all of this while averaging close to 39 minutes per night! By these numbers alone, Michael Jordan has had the best season of any 35-year-old NBA player in the league’s storied history.
But this conversation isn’t about Jordan. It’s about The King and one could argue his heir apparent. According to these updated NBA MVP odds, Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading the pack as the favorite to win with odds listed at -750. The next player in line is LeBron James but his odds are listed at just +800.
Both players and their respective teams are poised to make deep runs into the playoffs and could very well meet in the NBA Finals. We all may be spoiled by the greatness and the consistency of play that LeBron has blessed us with since he entered the league in 2003. By that alone, he is our MVP. But this is a league of stars and Giannis is one of the NBA’s youngest and brightest at just 25-years-old. With the numbers he’s putting up, he’s in prime position to take home the 2019-2020 NBA MVP. It’s going to be fun watching these two down the stretch as they close out this season.