Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo managed to beat out the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year honors following an unprecedented 2019-20 season.
Although Davis did all he could to make it a compelling race on the court, the ballots show that Antetokounmpo won the award in a landslide with 74 first-place votes. Meanwhile, Davis received more votes for third place than second place despite finishing behind Antetokounmpo and ahead of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
Antetokounmpo has now become only the fifth player in NBA history to win both MVP and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He is now set to join even more elite company by doing it in the same season.
Antetokounmpo is taking on another Lakers star in LeBron James, along with Houston Rockets guard James Harden for the 2020 MVP Award. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Antetokounmpo is favored to defend his crown over James and Harden:
Antetokounmpo is also the favorite to win Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season.
There is no question that Antetokounmpo did all he could to solidify his case by averaging 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.0 block in 63 regular-season games. His role as the centerpiece of a Bucks team that finished with the best record and defense in the league was more than enough to garner some serious hardware this year.
Meanwhile, James can take solace in the fact that he was still able to compete at an MVP level in his 17th season by putting up 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, while leading the NBA in assists with 10.2 per game.
Although he may come up short against Antetokounmpo, there is still time to alleviate the loss suffered by him and Davis with a championship.
The Lakers certainly have good reason to be confident in the pairing of James and Davis given their contributions all season. They even became the first Lakers’ duo to finish with at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal did it against the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
LeBron relishing in proving doubters wrong
Despite being snubbed from MVP, James relished in the Lakers’ reign over the Western Conference this season after hearing all the questions about how he would fare following his move from the East.
“Us being No. 1 in the West, there was a lot of conversations about, ‘LeBron can do those things in the East but if he ever came to the West, what could he do?’ I heard all of that,” James said.
“To be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference, playing the way we were playing at that time, and the way I was playing, that’s definitely a good feeling.”
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