James had just led the Lakers to signature wins over the Bucks and Clippers, the two top threats to the Lakers’ title hopes. At the same time, a knee injury sustained in that Bucks/Lakers showdown had sidelined Antetokounmpo for the two games leading up to the stoppage.
With the NBA now in an indefinite hiatus, the MVP race has been put on hold. In fact, it’s possible it might be over altogether. While team owners and players alike want to resume the season, it’s not clear if or when that will happen. And if it does resume, the rest of regular season figures to be significantly reduced or perhaps even excised entirely in order to quickly advance to the playoffs.
With that in mind, we want to get your hypothetical MVP ballot for the 2019/20 NBA season. Do you have Giannis or LeBron in the top spot? How would you fill out the rest of your top five?
Dan Devine of The Ringer tried his hand at putting together a ballot, picking Antetokounmpo as his MVP, followed by James, Rockets star James Harden, LeBron’s teammate Anthony Davis, and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald had the same top three (Giannis, LeBron, and Harden) on his unofficial MVP ballot, as did ESPN’s panel of voters.
ESPN’s straw poll respondents had Leonard and Davis in their top six as well, but were more bullish than Devine on Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who finished fourth. Thunder guard Chris Paul, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, and Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard rounded out ESPN’s top 10, with Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Bradley Beal (Wizards) each receiving a lone down-ballot vote as well.
What do you think? How would you fill out your five-man MVP ballot based on what we’ve seen so far?
Head to the comment section below to share your list and your reasoning!