Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George are viewed as two of the top players in the NBA, and this year’s awards seem to show that in a big way.
The NBA on Friday announced the finalists for each of the awards that will be handed out during their awards show on June 24. Antetokounmpo and George were both listed as finalists for NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. James Harden is the other finalist for MVP and Utah’s Rudy Gobert is in the mix for Defensive Player of the Year.
— NBA (@NBA) May 18, 2019
The NBA MVP race had long been viewed as a two-way competition between Harden and Antetokounmpo. Giannis averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 57.8 percent shooting, all of which were career-best marks. His Milwaukee Bucks had the best record during the regular season at 60-22.
Harden averaged a league-best 36.1 points per game and helped carry the Houston Rockets to the 5th-best record in the league. His points scoring average is the 7th-highest in NBA history.
George averaged 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game, all of which tied or set a career-high mark. His candidacy took a big boost when he blew up in February and averaged 35 points per game that month. Things changed after he suffered a shoulder injury on Feb. 26 that sank his stats (his points dropped off and shooting went down by nearly four percent) and played a big role in Oklahoma City’s early playoff exit.
Harden won NBA MVP last season, while Antetokounmpo finished sixth in voting. George’s best MVP finish came in 2013-2014 when he finished ninth. Gobert is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.