That is great defense from David Vanterpool! Kuzma has made some clutch shots this season but the Wizards second-leading scorer missed a potential game-winner and was clearly still frustrated afterwards with an earlier moment in the fourth quarter.
James Harden dominated the NBA MVP voting last season, pushing the Rockets to the top of the league with a flurry of three-point shots, iso-ball and intimidating beard game.
Harden’s award felt like due recognition of a player who has been brilliant for years now and finally got his moment after being runner-up twice previously.
Meanwhile, LeBron James finished second in the voting, somehow finding another level of play at age 33 (33!) because LeBron is not of this world.
This year, however, I’m predicting the MVP award to be the coronation of a new king, the player who could be the best player in the league for the next decade.
I’ve written before about my theory that the ‘unicorns’ – a term used to describe young basketball players with a freakish combination of size, speed, vision, passing and athleticism – were bred in a lab by the NBA specifically for the purpose of beating LeBron and keeping the league interesting.
Well, this is the year a unicorn will finally claim the crown as the best player in the world.
While Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Karl Anthony-Towns, Nikola Jokic and Kristaps Porzingis are all immensely talented, I am predicting the MVP race this year to be between LeBron and the ultimate unicorn: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Last season, Giannis started the season in unbelievable form, and he looked to be an MVP candidate already. He did everything on the court – scoring, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals, all of it. He was the definition of a one-man team, as the Bucks struggled badly to support him and eventually fired their coach midway through the season.
Over the course of the year, he put up 26.9 points, 4.8 assists, 10 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 54% field goal percentage.
But being a one-man team seemed to exhaust the poor superstar, and his form dropped off a little after the All-Star break. This year, however, he should have a bit more help.
In the offseason, the Bucks brought in veteran centre Brook Lopez and rookie Donte DiVincenzo, who are both capable three-point shooters and should provide Giannis with more space to work. Khris Middleton should also take a leap this year, allowing Giannis to do more of the stuff that makes him great and less of everything else.
With his ability to play every position and do everything on a basketball court, LeBron is Giannis’ most obvious comparison as a player. LeBron was 24 years old when he won his first MVP. Guess how old Giannis will be at the end of the next NBA season?