On Saturday, Giannis Antetokounmpo posted one of the better Christmas Day games in Bucks’ history as Milwaukee came back from a 15-point halftime deficit to grab a win over the Celtics. Antetokounmpo scored 36 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, dished out five assists, and came up with a huge block on Robert Williams late in the game to help complete the comeback.
It was the sixth 30-point Christmas showing in Bucks’ history, trailing only Kareem’s 38-point game in a 1971 loss to Detroit. The three greatest Bucks – Antetokounmpo, Abdul-Jabbar, and Khris Middleton – now have two 30-point Christmas games each. Only Giannis I’m and Kareem – two each – have 30-point, 10-rebound games for the Bucks on December 25. They have one 30, 10, and 5 game each. After winning a title last summer, Giannis really began to push Kareem for the title of greatest Buck ever. Now he’s matched some of his Christmas Day records.
Today, Basketball Reference released their latest MVP ladder, and there’s a new name sitting at the top –
Antetokounmpo is averaging roughly 27 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists on the year. The Bucks are 14.4 points better per 100 possessions with him on the court than they are with him off it. He’s also the only player in the top six in the league in PER, VORP, BPM, Offensive BPM, Defensive BPM, Offensive Win Shares, Defensive Win Shares, Win Shares, and Win Shares per 48 minutes. Nikola Jokic – top nine in all of the above – is the next closest. With roughly 40% of the season done, there’s far too much time left to make any sweeping declarations. But Giannis is set up very well to chase his third MVP in four seasons.