Giannis Antetokounmpo has a chance at a basketball version of a “triple crown” — a title, a scoring title, and an MVP.
With his 50 points in Tuesday’s win against the Pacers, the Bucks’ superstar became the NBA’s top scorer (29.4 PPG). Giannis shot 17-21 from the field — the fourth-fewest attempts ever in a 50-point performance.
And just like that, the defending champions (36-23) are only 1.5 games back from the 1-seed. Meanwhile, Giannis is the third-favorite to win MVP (+400*).
The Bucks’ success — and long-term strategy — will be tied to Giannis.
- They gave him a five-year, $228 million supermax in 2020.
- His $39.3 million annual salary makes him the eighth-highest-paid player in the NBA this season.
- He has a player option in 2025-26, when he’ll only be 32, and he’ll be a UFA in 2026.
The front office continues to build around him despite a hefty $161 million payroll. They traded for three-time All-Defensive big Serge Ibaka at the deadline as potential compensation for the injured Brook Lopez, and they’re also in play for veteran guard Goran Dragic.
Giannis could become only the sixth player in NBA history to win the scoring title and championship in the same season. The last two players to accomplish the feat: Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal.
The one caveat — Milwaukee has the toughest remaining schedule of all 30 teams.