No individual award in American sport generates more debate than the NBA MVP. No one cares about hockey, and half of the prizes are given to players where voters don’t really understand why they vote for them. Baseball awards are too mixed up in the debate between how we see the game today and how it used to be seen, what counts now and what mattered then, and of course the difference in the way the game is played. NFL MVPs are basically just data at quarterbacks whose situation we have already identified.
But the NBA MVP, it’s something of a certificate. Go back to the list and you will see almost every player was the final player of that year or era. Or it should be, and then be found as something of fraud. But even this is hard to sell. Steve Nash’s two wins were mocked at the time and are still a bit off, but then more and more teams started playing in the way of those Suns teams. Dirk Nowitzki has one, and now almost every older man can play like him. These are just the ones that are outside the pillars of the past and present of the game that have enriched it. If it didn’t make sense at the time, the game bent to support them, marking them as ahead of their time.
Winning an NBA MVP is supposed to make you a part of a very exclusive club player. And teams are supposed to win championships because they have at least one player in that club. It’s almost unheard of to do without one, even though the Raptors did it two years ago (even though Kawhi Leonard played at that level for that season, at least). An MVP award is basically a ticket to the Hall of Fame (except you, Derrick Rose).
So does Giannis have to return his two trophies?
Giannis isn’t the reason the Bucks rubbed their asses in the moonlight last night, at least not alone. Khris Middleton was terrible for the second straight game, they had no one who could hit consistently from three, and the Nets had Kevin Durant, who is in one of his unstoppable phases again.
But Giannis certainly didn’t help the cause, and in a game the Bucks really needed, it was the same old story. The Nets cut the pick-and-roll on top of the key, put the picket fence across the fall line, and made sure Giannis ’discs weren’t available or extremely challenging. And Giannis can’t make teams pay because he can’t hit consistently from the outside. The evidence is pretty clear.
It’s disappointing because it’s so predictable. That’s what the Raptors did two years ago. That’s what the Heat did last year. Yet the Bucchi is getting cold. The Networks are small, yet Giannis is unable, or unwilling, to try to generate from the blockchain. It’s not really where his game is, but at this point in his career, it should be. Especially when it’s so obvious how the teams will defend him and the Bucks when the chips. And here we are again.
There’s always time for Giannis and the Bucks to change that, and they have two home games to come. James Harden’s health is an issue, and the Nets are hit elsewhere. But the same problem has been facing the Bucks for three years now, and coach Mike Budenholzer is still running on the same wall, ensuring that this time will be different.
Coming to America
The Montreal Canadiens finished the Winnipeg Jets in the Northern Division final in overtime, 3-2. Thanks to the COVID divisions of the NHL, the result he gave us one of the best Twitter memes of a while: