Mike Budenholzer: Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves back-to-back NBA MVP awards

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Mike Budenholzer: Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves back-to-back NBA MVP awards

Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer absolutely believes forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has done enough to win back-to-back NBA MVP awards. Antetokounmpo, 25, claimed his first NBA MVP award last season and this season he has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the award since he has averaged this year 29.6 points, 13.7 points and 5.8 assists.

Antetokounmpo's impact on the floor and on the team has been outstanding as the Bucks comfortably sit on the first place of the Eastern Conference standings with a 53-12 record. On Friday -- ahead of this month's NBA season restart in Orlando -- league told teams on Friday that the races for MVP and other regular-season individual awards are over.

The NBA season has been suspended since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the date set for the restart is July 30. "I had no idea that that was the case, but it makes sense. I think it was 64, 65, 66 games for different teams, so that's certainly a significant body of work, and more importantly, certainly, Giannis, in our minds, has done more than enough to deserve a back-to-back MVP," Budenholzer said, as quoted on ESPN.

"What he does for us on both ends of the court, what he does every night, the way he sets the bar for us, culture-wise, work ethic-wise, just as a teammate. He's an incredible teammate, plays unselfishly, does everything.

And I think that's kind of what the MVP is, so we certainly feel like he's very deserving, and we'll be excited to support him."

Antetokounmpo could write history

If Antetokounmpo wins the NBA MVP award this season, he would join LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to win multiple NBA MVPs at age 25 or younger, per ESPN Stats & Information research "I want to be one of the best players to ever play the game," Antetokounmpo told reporters during media availability on July 1.

"I did the best job I could do trying to stay ready and trying to have my team ready for this journey that we're about to go on to leave and play games. But as I said, whoever wants it more, whoever is mentally prepared for all this, what's going on in Orlando, that's the team that's gonna come out on top."