By JERRY TAPP
Milwaukee Bucks megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo has been at or near the top of the lists bantered about for the NBA MVP Award this season. With the Bucks having the best record in the league, Giannis has been considered a leading candidate for the honor. He will likely have to fend off James Harden, Paul George, and others, to win the trophy.
Giannis received enough votes in the past two seasons to finish in the MVP Award Top 10 in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns. He finished tied for seventh in 2017 and was sixth in the voting last season. It is likely that he will surpass those finishes, and barring a total collapse, should finish in the Top 3 for the honor.
If Giannis was to win this year’s award, he would become only the second Bucks player to win an NBA MVP Award. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won three MVP honors with the Bucks … in 1971, 1972 and 1974.
In the Bucks history, there have been only five players who have finished in the Top 10 of the league’s MVP voting in a season. Abdul-Jabbar finished in the Top 10 six times, winning three times, finishing second once, third once, and fifth one year. Sidney Moncrief finished in the Top 10 five times, followed by Marques Johnson and Giannis (both twice a Top 10 finalist for the MVP Award) and Terry Cummings who finished in the Top 10 for the award one season.
Here is a look at the 15 times that the Bucks had a player finish in the top 10 of the MVP Award balloting.
1970: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 3rd
1971: Abdul-Jabbar, 1st
1972: Abdul-Jabbar, 1st
1973: Abdul-Jabbar, 2nd
1974:Abdl- Jabbar, 1st
1975: Abdul-Jabbar, 5th
1978: Marques Johnson, tied for 10th
1981: Johnson, 6th
1982: Sidney Moncrief, 7th
1983: Moncrief, 4th
1984: Moncrief, 8th
1985: Terry Cummings, 5th… Moncrief, 8th
1986: Moncrief, 7th
2017: Giannis Antetokounmpo, tied for 7th
2018: Antetokounmpo, 6th
A couple of things jump off the page when I looked at the above list:
- Did not know Sidney Moncrief had that many Top 10 finishes for the MVP Award. That should certainly bode well for him as he is one of the finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class.
- The more than 30 years (1986 to 2017) that the Bucks went without having any of their players in the Top 10 for the MVP.
- That Abdul-Jabbar, Moncrief and Cummings are the only Bucks players to finish in the Top 5 for the voting. That list will likely add Giannis this season.
Where will Giannis finish in this year’s voting?
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
— photo by BILL TENNESSEN