Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to never reach his ceiling. He came into the NBA as a decent prospect but nobody could’ve seen him go from bench player to star to superstar so quickly. Based on his 2019-20 season, he could be one of the few players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year trophies.
That seems to be where the wind is blowing but not everybody agrees that Giannis is deserving of both awards. Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis is also a shutdown defender and could garner some votes. In fact, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. has faced off against both men plenty of times and thinks Davis has the edge.
“Just from playing I feel like I have to be more aware of where AD is on the court compared to the others,” Nance recently tweeted. “Obviously all ridiculously good, but AD this year was a menace.
“I think AD had more to clean up after … Giannis is more of a surprise defender where you lose track of him and he catches you off guard. You always know where AD is and the amount of drives, passes he discourages just by his presence is unmeasurable. Depends on what you prefer (in regards to the NBA award).”
While many will point to stats to show why Giannis deserves the award, Nance has a much better idea of how each player affects a game.
Davis Finishes 3rd in ESPN DPOY Ballot
Obviously, Nance’s comments don’t take anything away from Giannis’ excellent season and he’ll probably end up winning the award anyway. Some even think that Davis isn’t even in the top two. Zach Lowe of ESPN revealed in awards vote ballot and he had Davis as third in the Defensive Player of the Year rankings behind Giannis and Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert.
Gobert has one the award two years in a row so it’s not a surprise he’s in the running. He’s simply one of the best defenders in the NBA. All three men are worthy of the award. What’s going to hurt Davis is that the Lakers haven’t played particularly well when he’s on the floor but LeBron James isn’t. Right now, it appears that it’s Giannis’ award to lose.
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Another Laker Could Lose Award to Giannis
Defensive Player of the Year isn’t the only award that Giannis could steal from a Laker. He’s also the favorite to win MVP. The only person giving him a run for his money is LeBron James. The 35-year-old and has helped take Los Angeles from being NBA bottom dwellers to the top seed in the Western Conference.
From a numbers standpoint, Giannis has had a superior season. His team has a better record, he’s averaging more points per game and is a much better defensive player. LeBron is playing in a tougher conference and his team is far worse when he’s off the court than the Bucks are when Giannis is out. Lowe picked the “Greek Freak” to retain the MVP title and had LeBron as the runner up. It seems likely that Giannis takes both Defensive Player of the Year and MVP this season.