Doc Rivers Compares Giannis’ MVP Campaign to Michael Jordan

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Doc Rivers

Getty Giannis Antetokounmpo, Doc Rivers

Giannis Antetokounmpo has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award twice in 2019 and 2020. Though he has established himself as one of the league’s best players, Doc Rivers believes voters won’t pick the Milwaukee Bucks franchise player because they’re tired of him. He used Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan as a reference for why

“I don’t even want to get into it, but there’s been guys that you get tired of voting for,” Rivers told reporters, per The Athletic’s Eric Nehm on March 2. “Michael [Jordan] may be the poster child of that. And Giannis seems to be in that category where you’re so good, everything you do is taken for granted. When you just look at his numbers, they’re incredible, and yet, you never hear his name. It’s unbelievable, but that’s a sign of respect more than disrespect in some ways.”

Throughout his NBA career, Jordan was a five-time MVP, winning in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. He infamously lost the award to Karl Malone in 1997. When Malone won, there was an outrage since many believed Malone won over Jordan primarily because of voter fatigue.

Antetokounmpo’s path to win the award got easier when reigning MVP Joel Embiid went down with a meniscus injury. However, he’ll still compete with Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Jayson Tatum, among others, for the award.

Doc Rivers Provides Update on Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton last played for the Bucks on February 6. The Bucks have managed well lately without him, having won five in a row. Doc Rivers provided an update on Middleton to Nehm on March 3. Rivers told Nehm that Middleton “went a little, not a lot” and added that he is “pretty doubtful” against the Clippers on March 4, per Nehm’s X account.

Rivers then told Nehm about his involvement when players are hurt, per Nehm’s X account.

“I don’t get involved. It’s funny, even Khris said it, I don’t even ask. I do not get involved in the training room. I just think it’s a bad place for a coach to ever be. So, I am never – I don’t think I’ve ever gone, ‘You’re going to play tomorrow, right?’ I don’t say a word. They come and tell me. I’m praying that they know way more than me about the health part of it and I’m sure they do.

Middleton has played 43 games this season and played 33 games during the 2022-23 season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Not Available vs. Clippers

Khris Middleton is not the only Buck who will miss the Clippers game. ESPN’s Jamal Collier reported via his X account that Giannis will also miss the Clippers game because of an Achilles injury, as Doc Rivers told him.

The Bucks currently have a half-game lead over the Cavaliers for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have an eight-and-a-half-game lead over the Bucks for the No. 1 seed. With 21 games left, the odds of them catching the Celtics are slim. However, the No. 2 seed is very much in play for them.

If Middleton and Antetokounmpo return sooner, their odds of getting the higher seed are higher.