Giannis Says Winning Back-to-Back NBA MVP Awards Is 'Not Important at All'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2020

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 02:  Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena on March 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo downplayed the significance of defending his 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player Award during the final stages of the current campaign.

"It's not important at all," Antetokounmpo told reporters Monday.

He was then asked whether he cared about the award and replied, "I really don't."

Antetokounmpo is having another terrific season. He's averaging 29.6 points, 13.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.5 threes, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals per game across 55 appearances. He leads all NBA players in both player efficiency rating (31.92) and ESPN's real plus-minus (7.87).

In turn, the 25-year-old Greece native is a massive favorite (-3,000; bet $3,000 to win $100) in the MVP race, per Caesars Palace. He's followed by the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (+1000), Houston Rockets' James Harden (+2000) and Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic (+2000).

So the battle for the league's top individual honor isn't something Giannis will need to focus on during the Bucks' final 21 games of the regular season. It would take a series of seismic events for one of those other stars to overtake him in such a short period of time.

The main focus for Antetokounmpo and Co. is winning the franchise first championship since 1971.

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"I think we have the best team in the NBA," Giannis told Marc Stein of the New York Times last month.

Milwaukee (52-9) is back in action Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers as it looks to take another step toward locking down home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. It holds a five-game advantage over James' Lakers (46-13) in that race.