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"Look at what Giannis is doing with all his teammates injured" - Richard Jefferson on why Giannis Antetokounmpo is the MVP over Nikola Jokic

According to Jefferson, Giannis deserves a ton of credit for leading the Bucks to wins despite all the injuries they're dealing with.
Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo

The MVP race is as close as it's ever been. 

Still, with the likes of Giannis AntetokounmpoNikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum all being in the conversation for the award, ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson picked his favorite.

"When you're doing the MVP race, you're talking about two of the best players in the world. You're talking about two of the best teams. in the world, championship teams. So when I sit here and tell you that I don't know if he's (Jokic) the dude right now. I don't have him over Giannis. I have him and Giannis neck-and-neck" Jefferson said.

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"That means Giannis can have a good week, and he jumps a little bit. Jokic could have two okay games, it's not like Denver is undefeated. I'm not trying to de-value anything that Jokic is doing, but we need to take a harder look at what Giannis is doing with all of his teammates injured," Jefferson added.

Jokic vs. Giannis

The former player-turned-analyst elaborated on how Giannis has been holding the fort together for Milwaukee Bucks in this injury-plagued season. This is why he places the Greek Freak over the Joker in his MVP tally halfway into the season.

With his co-star Khris Middleton dealing with injuries, Antetokounmpo is doing everything he can to keep the Bucks in the playoff hunt. Giannis is averaging a career-high 31.0 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 52.4% from the floor. On the other hand, Nikola Jokic has led the star-studded Denver Nuggets to the No. 1 seed in the West (28-13) by averaging 24.9 points, 11 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game.

Context matters

Jefferson, though, has raised a valid point - Jokic can afford a bad game here and there, and the Nuggets will be fine. However, Giannis doesn’t have the luxury to do so. 

The Joker has a well-vamped team around him that can easily score and defend in his absence. On the other hand, Mike Budenholzer can't afford to sit Giannis for long stretches during the game. In other words, the Bucks depend on Antetokounmpo's production. And yet, the 6x All-Star continues to thrive.

But despite the ongoing MVP talk, The Greek Freak only has his eyes set on making another valid bid for an NBA title. If he maintains this level of play, the Bucks might be favorites to win another one this year.

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