Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA MVP last Friday. He is the 12th player to win the award in back-to-back seasons, the first European to win the award more than once, and he joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in league history to win multiple MVP awards by the age of 25.
Kendrick Perkins, however, had problems with Giannis taking home the hardware.
“I had a lot of problems with that because every year the MVP shifts; the goal post shifts,” Perkins said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I don’t know what’s the criteria for MVP no more. I’m not saying Giannis didn’t have a good year. I’m not saying that. But I just remember a time when Steve Nash averaged 15 and 10 and he had a nice squad around him and Kobe Bryant had Smush Parker and Kwame Brown and led the Lakers to the playoffs and averaged almost 35 points a game and clearly was the Most Valuable Player – and didn’t get it because they said that Steve Nash was more valuable if you took him off the Suns.”
Nash won the NBA MVP in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Bryant averaged a league-high 35.4 points per game.
LeBron James finished runner-up in this year’s voting, and he was not happy about it. It was the fourth time he finished runner-up for the award.
“If you take LeBron James [off the Lakers] – no disrespect to Anthony Davis because he’s a generational talent – but if you take LeBron James off the Lakers, what would the Lakers be in the Western Conference?” Perkins asked. “They would be in the playoffs, but they wouldn’t be sitting at the No. 1 spot.”
As for the Bucks, Perkins said that Milwaukee would be a top-five team in the East without Antetokounmpo.
“They would,” he said. “Their offense runs better without Giannis.”
Perkins also said that the Bucks without Antetokounmpo are better than the 76ers at full strength.
“They would be better,” he said. “You would be able to feature Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez more."
After failing to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, Antetokounmpo’s long-term future with the Bucks is very much in doubt. Perkins does not believe Antetokounmpo will stay in Milwaukee.
“It’s going to be hard for him to stay,” Perkins said. “In order for Giannis to stay, he’s saying that he wants the owner to spend. Nobody is going to Milwaukee, I’m sorry. So who are you going to get in the free-agency market? Nobody. Steph Curry is not walking through the door. Damian Lillard is not going there. So I just think the chances [of] Milwaukee keeping Giannis is very low.”