Tiki: Giannis Will Win It, But LeBron Is MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo was the runaway MVP, but LeBron James has closed the gap

Tiki and Tierney
March 03, 2020 - 2:47 pm

The NBA MVP award has become a two-horse race between Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 29.6 points, 13.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.1 blocks for the Milwaukee Bucks (52-9), and LeBron James, who is averaging 25.5 points, a league-high 10.6 assists and 7.8 rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers (46-13).

These are clearly two deserving candidates, but for Tiki Barber, James gets the nod.

“He’s playing at an MVP level,” Barber said on Tiki & Tierney. “The problem with him winning the award is Giannis and the Bucks are the best team in basketball right now. No. 1 offensive rating, No. 1 defensive rating – the Bucks are just ridiculous. How do you not give it back-to-back to Giannis? 

“But if you’re looking at value for a team, there is no doubt about this, especially given what’s gone on out in Los Angeles over the last month-and-a-half or so,” Barber continued. “LeBron is the MVP of the league. Giannis is going to win it, but LeBron is the MVP – of the Lakers and of the league. There’s no doubt about it.”

Brandon Tierney agrees.

“The MVP is a tricky award, and it always has been,” he said. “Is it the best player on the best team? If that’s the case, it’s Giannis. If it’s just extrapolating pure value – if you remove this from that, what does that become? – I think that the Bucks, they’re not going to win 70 games, but they’d be better than the Brooklyn Nets. They’d still be a playoff team. I don’t know what the hell the Lakers would be. As good as Anthony Davis is when he plays, if you want to get to the root of the award, the true absolute meaning of Most Valuable Player, I agree. I agree. I’m not going to hand it to him now, [but] I’m beginning to reassess and now use the final 25 games as a barometer to possibly change my mind.”