• Gerald Malunga

History still beckons for Giannis this season

The disappointment of not reaching the NBA Finals after a record-setting season will still be fresh in the minds of the Milwaukee Bucks players, getting back to this past season's heights is not guaranteed next term but Giannis Antetokounmpo for one has proved that the best is yet to come, giving the Bucks hope of challenging in the Eastern Conference again next season.

Giannis is on the brink of making history at the 2019 NBA Awards next month, if he wins the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award he would become the first ever player to win the Most Improved Player award and later go on to win the more prestigious MVP award.

The Bucks forward has been short-listed for the KIA MVP award alongside Paul George and James Harden following a spectacular season. Since winning the MIP award in the 2016-17 season, Giannis has improved his statistics across the board, his season by season progression has elevated him to superstardom and he now dines with the league's elite.

The Greek Freak, as he is affectionately known, led the Bucks to their best season in recent memory as they were only a couple of wins away from reaching the NBA Finals. He was named in this season's All-NBA First Team, he was named in the NBA All-Defensive First Team and also got nominated for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He could have one final chance to get a consolation prize despite not progressing to the NBA Finals, though to the call the MVP award consolation is to down play it.

Another player who is in a similar position is Oklahoma City Thunder's George, the former Indiana Pacers man won the MIP award for his breakthrough exploits in the 2012-13 season (his third year in the league at the time). George was back at his best during the 2018-19 regular season and he was regarded as an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate by fans and analysts alike throughout the season, he duly lived up to the praise as he was recently short-listed in both award categories.

To date, no player has ever won the MIP award and grabbed the MVP award seasons later as already mentioned but both Antetokounmpo and Paul George are on a mission to re-write history.

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