Giannis Antetokounmpo has been getting a lot of grief for the Milwaukee Bucks struggles in the playoffs. Right now, the Bucks are down 0-2 to the Miami Heat in the second round. Giannis, who was the MVP of the NBA last season, probably will win the MVP again this season. The problem has been Milwaukee’s performance in the playoffs. They shrink when the lights are the brightest. But what about Giannis? The MVP is still averaging over 30 points a game. Why are people so down on him?
Before I get into what some of what the critics have said about Giannis, I want to explain my thoughts on the situation. Giannis has MVP talent, but he is not an MVP. The NBA has done a poor job in my opinion on defining what this award means in the past few years. Lately, they have given out the award to the player who is on the best team, or puts up the most stats throughout the season. Best example of the is when Russell Westbrook was named the MVP back in 2016. He averaged a triple-double during that entire season, but I don’t think anyone would says he’s an MVP now. The reason for that, is because he’s not a leader. He can’t take control of a team and lead them as far as possible. And neither can Giannis. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry are leaders. They are MVP’s. They have all carried their respective teams to the promise land. And it’s not about about them winning a title, its about them willing their teams to victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t have that killer instinct yet.
Kobe Bryant (Rest in Peace) referred to it as “Mamba Mentality.” Although I believe Giannis has passion to work hard and get better at his game, he has yet to find that “DOG” in him. The “DOG” that won’t ever allow him to settle for losing. It’s something you can’t teach. Its a fire inside you to be competitive at all times. Once Giannis finds that fire, he will become the real MVP!
A lot of media personalities have been weighting in on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s struggles, including former NBA player Richard Jefferson. He commented on twitter that “Giannis might be a Pippen…there I said it! He needs his Jordan.” It indicated that Giannis wasn’t an MVP. That he wasn’t even a #1 player on a team. That he was at best a sidekick. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do believe in order for Giannis to take that next step, he’s going to have to develop that fire. Or he will always be looked at as less than what he really is. An MVP.
Scottie Pippen’s response to Richard Jefferson: “Im not Giannis- I don’t have back-to-back league MVPs (he will in a matter of days)- and he’s not me. The question is…who were you as a player?