In a recent interview with Harris Stavrou, Giannis said, “Kobe told me to sacrifice if I want to win and be great. LeBron is the best in the world. MVP is another story. I can tell that he is the best and my idol. He is 17 years in the league.”
Giannis admitting that LeBron is still the best player in the world should tell us everything we need to know about the MVP award, but we’ll let that go for now. What’s important here is the possibility of LeBron James winning MVP in what would be his 18th season. If LeBron does ultimately win MVP again next season, the rest of the league should probably work on getting better because this is getting ridiculous.
Giannis makes it known: “LeBron is (still) the best in the world.” (via @harris_stavrou)— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 1, 2020
Here are my predictions for the 2020-21 MVP award. I know they’re going to upset literally everyone.
3. LeBron James
While LeBron certainly wants to grab a fifth MVP for his trophy case, he understands the bigger picture. For James, winning the MVP is nothing but a cherry on top of a perfect season. If LeBron wins Finals MVP by season’s end, he gets the last laugh and all the credit. That’s why I have him at three. He simply doesn’t need to win MVP anymore for validation.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Voter fatigue has always come into play for the NBA MVP. After back-to-back MVPs, the Greek Freak will still be great next year, but it’s time to crown a new champion. Michael Jordan and LeBron James never won three straight, so Giannis probably shouldn’t either.
1. Damian Lillard
Most NBA fans don’t think about Damian Lillard as an MVP. They should. Lillard excels at everything that today’s NBA rules encourage: shooting, free-throws (he’s near 90% every year), and roster construction that takes away double-team opportunities for defenders. The Portland Trailblazers have made big time acquisitions, like sharp-shooter Robert Covington, this offseason that will create more space for our future MVP to operate.
He’ll fly under the radar, since the Blazers barely squeaked into the 2020 playoffs after struggling with injuries all season. Next year, that won’t be enough to help Portland climb the standings and boost Lillard’s MVP case. Lillard will have to help his team win games at a high clip if he wants to be MVP.
Don’t be shocked when Damian Lillard adds some hardware to his trophy case. I tried to warn you.