Monday night Milwaukee Bucks destroyer of worlds Giannis Antetokounmpo became the first European import to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award since Dirk Nowitzki in 2007, and the first NBA player ever to win MVP after having won the NBA’s Most Improved Player, which Giannis won after the 2016–17 season. Giannis’s acceptance speech was rather emotional:
Houston’s James Harden spent the first half of the season as the overwhelming favorite for the award, and as in Russell Westbrook’s 2017 MVP season, there will surely be a vocal segment of Harden fans who’ll argue that he was robbed. Harden led the league in scoring by more than eight points per game, and produced a blistering 61.6 true shooting percentage on Herculean 39.9 percent usage. The Rockets disappointed slightly in the standings, but Harden’s season was one for the record books, and he would’ve made a perfectly deserving MVP.
But Giannis led his Bucks team to the NBA’s best record, and top five rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and was enough of a dominant defensive force to finish in the top three in Defensive Player of the Year voting, while putting up some ridiculous offensive numbers of his own. In the end the voting was fairly decisive in favor of Giannis (although you can’t rule out the Rockets producing audit results discrediting the final tally):
Here’s a neat bit of trivia: the winner of the 2018–19 MVP award was the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, just as the winner of the 2018–19 Finals MVP award was the 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Bear that in mind the next time the Wizards dump a mid-first-round pick in exchange for a ho-hum veteran and salary cap relief.