The Milwaukee Bucks may have finished two wins shy of a trip to the NBA Finals, but they cleaned up at the NBA Awards ceremony on Monday night in Los Angeles.
After Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was named the NBA Coach of the Year and GM Jon Horst captured Executive of the Year honors, superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was awarded the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player award for the 2018-19 season.
While leading the Bucks to their best record since the 1980-81 season and the top mark in the NBA at 60-22, Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points (3rd in the NBA), 12.5 rebounds (6th in the NBA) and 5.9 assists (T-20th in the NBA) per game, all career-highs. He also shot a franchise record 57.8% from the field (11th in the NBA), blocked 1.5 shots (10th in the NBA) and swiped 1.3 steals per game. Giannis became just the ninth player in NBA history to average at least 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game over the course of a season and did so with the highest shooting percentage
A First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defense selection, and finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo earned Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors in Oct./Nov., December, February and March/April last season and was a six-time Eastern Conference Player of the Week winner. He captained Team Giannis at the 68th All-Star Game in February after receiving the most player votes, the second-most fan votes and tied for the second-most media votes among all players.
This is the fourth time a Bucks has won MVP and the first time since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973-74, who also won in 1970-71 and 1971-72. At the age of 24, Antetokounmpo is just the 12th player to win MVP before turning 25 and is the youngest MVP since Derrick Rose (22) won in 2010-11.
Antetokounmpo beat out James Harden of Houston and Paul George of Oklahoma City, receiving 941 points and 78 first-place votes in the media balloting. That’s 165-points more than Harden, who won the award last year.
Tears rolled down his cheeks as Antetokounmpo thanked his mother Veronica and brothers in the audience. He credited his late father for pushing him toward his goals and his teammates and coaching staff for their help.