VIDEO: Dwyane Wade Shares Postgame Moment With Giannis Antetokounmpo
Dwyane Wade's farewell tour is one of the great subplots of the NBA season, and with his #OneLastDance it its late stages -- the Heat are in the playoff picture, but barely -- it's imperative to appreciate the heck out of every little moment. And that's why Giannis Antetokounmpo of the victorious Bucks should cherish this bit of postgame face time forever and ever: Wade to Giannis after the game: “I appreciate everything you do for the gameI
As the NBA regular season winds down, the MVP race has clearly come down to two players: Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rockets guard James Harden. Here’s how the two players stack up at this point in the season.
The first place to take stock of which way MVP voters will be leaning is the standings. The award typically goes to the best player on the best team, although there have been some exceptions in the past.
James Harden deserves to repeat as MVP
Ridiculous numbers, a likely top-three seed in the clearly tougher conference, major defensive impact, and a cherry on top versus San Antonio. Ladies and gentlemen, The Beard should be your MVP.
Here’s where each MVP’s team from the last five seasons finished relative to the rest of his conference.
|Season||MVP Winner||Team Finish|
|2017-18||James Harden||1st in West|
|2016-17||Russell Westbrook||6th in West|
|2015-16||Stephen Curry||1st in West|
|2014-15||Stephen Curry||1st in West|
|2013-14||Kevin Durant||2nd in West|
Aside from Westbrook’s historic season where he averaged a triple-double, the standings matter in the race. Whether they should or not is an argument for another time, but at the moment Antetokounmpo has the edge here. The Bucks are first in the East while the Rockets are currently fourth in the West.
Narratives also play a factor in the MVP race.
Westbrook was making history during his MVP season, which is why many disregarded his team’s performance to a certain extent. As for this year, Harden is attempting to repeat as MVP, but the Rockets haven’t been nearly as good as they were last year.
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An informal straw poll of 25 media members finds the race between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden could still be decided in the last two weeks.
Not only have Antetokounmpo’s Bucks gone from seventh to first place in the East, but manyin the annual NBA GM Survey.
The narrative angle gives Antetokounmpo the edge.
|Player Stats (through March 27)||Points||Assists||Rebounds||FG %||3-Point %|
The raw numbers favor Harden, but not by much.
He’s scoring almost 10 more points per game and dishing out more assists, but Antetokounmpo is more efficient from the field and making a bigger impact on the glass. Harden shoots 3-pointers at a ridiculous rate and Antetokounmpo essentially avoids them, resulting in the discrepancy in that category.
Antetokounmpo’s supporting cast is loaded with shooting, so he doesn’t have to take those shots. Harden’s game is built largely around his ability to hit shots from anywhere, and he can break down defenses due to his shot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's Bucks beat James Harden's Rockets in showdown of MVP front-runners
All eyes were on Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden, but the Bucks' Eric Bledsoe stole the show in Milwaukee's series-sweeping win.
Because of this, Harden’s 3-point numbers stand out. The edge goes slightly to Harden here because of overall volume, but this comparison is very close.
|Player Stats (through March 27)||Offensive Rating||Defensive Rating||Net Rating||Assist %||Assist/Turnover Ratio||Usage %||NBA.com’s Player Impact Estimate|
The advanced numbers favor Antetokounmpo in every category except for offensive rating and assist percentage.
Usage rate is included to give context on what a player does for his team, but isn’t necessarily determining one player is better than the other. Antetokounmpo is miles ahead of Harden in defensive rating and net rating. Even though Harden is responsible for a larger percentage of his team’s assists, Antetokounmpo has the better assist/turnover ratio.
Among qualified players, Antetokounmpo’s Player Impact Estimate ranks first. Harden’s is tied for second with Anthony Davis. With the regular season coming to an end, it’s going to be nearly impossible for Harden to catch Antetokounmpo on advanced numbers.
Chris Paul: Bucks beating Rockets shouldn't factor into MVP vote
Chris Paul is hopeful voters for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award won't put any stock into the Houston Rockets falling to the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night when choosing between James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. "Obviously I'm biased about the MVP and whoever or whatnot, but those of you that decide it on head-to-head games with a few games left in the season, good luck with that," Paul said, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "Happened to me in '08." The veteran point guard was referring to when he finished second in voting to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant for the Maurice Podoloff trophy.
The Greek Freak was already one of the league’s rising stars, but Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer helped. Now Antetokounmpo has the Bucks in the realm of title contention and his numbers have been spectacular.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Stadium NBA Insider Shams Charania has Antetokounmpo as his 2018-19 NBA MVP — a pick that I agree with.
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