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Giannis Voted Best Player in NBA over Luka Doncic, Steph Curry in ESPN Survey

Adam WellsAugust 30, 2022

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best player in the NBA, according to a new survey of people around the league.

In the survey of 15 coaches, scouts and executives polled by ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Antetokounmpo received 11 votes.

One Western Conference scout told Bontemps:

"He's healthy, you can put the ball in his hands or play off the ball as a screen-and-roll guy, and his defensive effectiveness. I think [Kevin] Durant is the most talented guy because of his shooting and scoring ability, [but] Giannis' will, the human, the winner, the mentality, the everyday effort, raising the effort of guys around him ... it's hard to top that."

Reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry finished second with three votes, followed by LeBron James with one vote.

As for who will be the league's best player in five years, voters also chose Antetokounmpo, while Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic came in second.

While the Bucks came up short in their quest to repeat as NBA champions last season, Antetokounmpo continues to look like the most unstoppable force on the court.

The Greek Freak averaged a career-high 29.9 points per game during the 2021-22 regular season. He also averaged more than 11 rebounds and five assists per contest for the fourth consecutive season.

In Milwaukee's second-round playoff loss to the Boston Celtics, Antetokounmpo averaged 33.9 points, 14.7 rebounds and 7.1 assists in seven games. He scored at least 40 points three times in the series.

Along with his offensive prowess, the two-time MVP is arguably the best defensive player in the NBA. The 27-year-old has made the All-Defensive First Team in each of the past four seasons and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2020.

Curry washed away his regular-season lull by leading the Golden State Warriors to their fourth title in the past eight years. The two-time NBA MVP only made 35.6 percent of his three-point attempts in 32 games from Jan. 1 to March 16 and then suffered a foot injury that kept him out for the rest of the regular season.

Upon returning in the postseason, Curry looked like the best version of himself. The 34-year-old put up 27.4 points and shot 39.7 percent from behind the arc on 10.4 attempts per contest. He made at least five three-pointers in five of six games against the Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Reigning two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic didn't receive a vote from any of the 15 people polled as the best player in the league. He led a depleted Denver Nuggets roster to the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, but they lost in the first round to the Warriors.

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