The debate over Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. James Harden for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award will only continue to heat up from here. And while there are obvious splits on who deserves the award, it wasn’t the slightest bit surprising to hear Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst back his player.
But what Horst had to say about the MVP race was certainly interesting. The Bucks GM joined FS1’s First Things First and was asked to make the case for Giannis to win the award. He pulled no punches while detailing his side of the argument.
“Yeah, to me it’s really clear. So most valuable player to a team – we’ve got the best team. We’ve beaten Houston twice, we’ve got the best team in the East and the best team in the league right now record-wise, we’ll see what happens in the playoffs, but Giannis offensively and defensively has dominated this league.” Horst stated.
“He’s averaging 26 and 13 like we just said, he’s also the only guy that averaging over a block and a steal per game to add on to those stats. So offensively he has a significant impact on our team and defensively he dominates the league as well.”
The Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. James Harden MVP Debate
Arguing which player deserves the MVP award this season may be tougher than any year in recent memory. While Harden put together one of the most eye-opening statistical seasons ever (thus far), Horst isn’t wrong about the Bucks being an elite team. With that said, the Houston Rockets star has averaged 36.4 points, 7.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 44.0 percent from the field.
On the other side, Giannis has been superb while posting marks of 27.4 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and shooting an eye-opening 58 percent. For a player to post these averages and shoot nearly 60 percent is unheard of, putting each player in a class of their own, but setting up a brutal debate.
As for the team outlook, the Bucks boast a 58-20 record with just four games remaining while the Rockets are 49-28 with five to go. Milwaukee is a near-lock to finish the season with the NBA’s best record, and the closest team to them is the Toronto Raptors at 55-23. The Bucks also went 3-1 this year against the Raptors, and in the only loss, Antetokounmpo tallied 43 points with 18 rebounds.
James Harden’s Incredible Scoring Streak
One area where Harden gets an edge is the stretch he had during the middle of the year when the Rockets roster was depleted by injuries. The reigning MVP took on an unreal scoring load, topping the 30-point mark in 32 consecutive games. This included the entire month of January, and Harden wrapped up the span with averages of 43.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game.
Beyond that, the Rockets managed to post a 9-6 record even though the likes of Chris Paul, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon all missed time at various points. It was one of the most impressive single months in NBA history.
One thing that’s certain is that whoever wins the MVP is well-deserving, but the player who finishes in second has a legitimate argument to make for why they should have won as well.