It was inevitable the race for the 2020 NBA MVP would be decided between the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. It wound up going in Antetokounmpo’s favor, as he claimed a second consecutive MVP Award.
But it is worth noting another Laker was taken into consideration in the voting process as Anthony Davis finished fifth with 168 total points. The forward received five third-place votes, 14 fourth-place votes and 15 fifth-place votes.
Antetokounmpo took in in 85 out of 101 first-place votes, garnering 962 points. James received 16 first-place votes and ended up with 753 points. He later expressed some dismay and frustration over that fact.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (one of the three finalists) and Kawhi Leonard of the L.A. Clippers were also in the top five in MVP voting. Leonard edged Davis by 32 points.
In his debut season with the Lakers, Davis averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 62 games, thriving alongside James after quickly developing a fruitful relationship with the three-time NBA champion.
And his form was recognized by basketball sportswriters and broadcasters who selected Davis, and James, to the All-NBA First Team. The pair became the first Lakers duo to feature on the All-NBA First Team simultaneously since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal did so in 2004.
Davis also ended up second in this season’s Defensive Player of the Year ballot, finishing behind Antetokounmpo, and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Davis placing fifth for MVP marked the second-best finish of his career. He came in third place for 2018 MVP.
Milwaukee’s forward has become the fifth ever player to win both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year during their career, joining a quintet of Hall-of-Famers: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett.
And only Antetokounmpo, Jordan, and Olajuwon managed to achieve that during the same season.
LeBron questions MVP voting
While James voiced his frustration with only receiving 16 votes for first place, he added it was something he quickly moved past. Though, James did add there is room for improvement with determining MVP criteria.
“It’s changed over the years since I’ve gotten into the league, I know that. It’s changed a lot,” he said. “You know, sometimes it’s the best player on the best team. Sometimes it’s the guy with the best season statistically. It’s changed over the course of my career.
“But you know, Giannis had a helluva season, I can definitely say that.”
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