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A few reasons why Bucks Antetokounmpo is an early MVP favorite

Antetokounmpo awso cute via Flickr


Early MVP Favorite: Giannis Antetokounmpo

We’re only a week into the 2017-18 NBA season. Headline injuries, coach firings, and trade rumors have already begun to swirl around. Another thing that has been swirling around is the play of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak is on a mission this year, and through four games no one has been able to stop him. He’s the ultimate basketball player, as he led his team in every major category last season (points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks). And was the first player in NBA history to rank in the top-20 league-wide for each category. So with only four games under his belt this season, here’s why the 6-foot-11 forward is the early MVP favorite.

Giannis’ Hot Start

Aktetokounmpo is one of three players in Bucks history to score 30 points in each of the team’s first four games. He passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points scored in Bucks history through four games at 147. The Greek Freak is currently averaging 36.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game for the Bucks. Not to mention he’s shooting .66 percent from the field. So let’s break down one of the most dominant first weeks in NBA history game-by-game.

Bucks vs. Celtics

Milwaukee’s first game was a tough one, as they traveled to Boston to take on Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics. Luckily for the Bucks, Gordon Hayward didn’t play, but with that aside, the young deer proved a point. Antetokounmpo scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead Milwaukee to a 108-100 win at the TD Garden. His athleticism accounted for two monstrous dunks over Aaron Baynes. One in the first quarter:

And one in the fourth:

Antetokounmpo went 11/13 from the foul line, finishing the game with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals in their win.

Cavaliers vs. Bucks

Unfortunately for the Bucks, their home opener brought LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to town on three days rest. While Giannis had a strong performance, he didn’t get much help. The only other player that scored in double figures was reigning rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon. He scored 16 points, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points on 15/22 shooting from the field. He added eight rebounds and eight assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucks lost to the Cavs 116-97.

Trailblazers vs. Bucks

The following day, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trailblazers came to town. The two guards each scored 26 points, but that wasn’t going to be enough against Milwaukee that night. The Greek Freak went off, and I mean went OFF. He scored a career-high 44 points, on 17/23 shooting. Giannis looked possessed, especially in the fourth quarter. He scored 17 points in the last period. Down 110-109 with 15 seconds to go, Antetokounmpo stripped McCollum of the ball. Brogdon then found Giannis at half court, and one dribble later, Antetokounmpo threw down the game-winning dunk against the Blazers. Just watch.


Giannis proved that he carries the clutch gene. His versatility and ability to pick-pocket a guard, and then run the floor to get a dunk on the other end shows that he’s got what it takes to lead this young Buck team, as Milwaukee defeated Portland 113-110.

Hornets vs. Bucks

The last game of Milwaukee’s opening week was against the Charlotte Hornets. Dwight Howard controlled the boards for Charlotte, but his poor free throw shooting was crucial, as he went 0-for-9 from the foul line, as the Bucks ultimately would win by 9, 103-94. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks yet again, scoring 32 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in Milwaukee’s win. His efficiency from the field continued as well, netting 13 of his 21 shot attempts.

Just the Beginning

Just a few weeks before the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s father passed away of cancer. And after his phenomenal performance against Portland, he had this to say about his early performance, which has been dedicated to his father, “This is just the beginning. I’m not done yet. We got 79 more games, plus playoff… Hopefully he’s seeing us from above, and is proud of us” Antetokounmpo said.

Alongside the miraculous stats, most importantly, Giannis’ performances have led to wins, as Milwaukee is off to a quick 3-1 start. And as long as Antetokounmpo keeps playing at this rate, he’s my clear favorite to win the 2017-2018 MVP award.

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram to talk sports at @Austgrad

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