Giannis Antetokounmpo was a runaway winner as the NBA’s best player in an ESPN poll of 15 coaches, scouts and executives. The Bucks star collected 11 votes, with three going to NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry and one to LeBron James. Antetokounmpo tied with Kevin Durant for the top spot in the survey last year.
“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,” a Western Conference scout in choosing Antetokounmpo. “I think 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.”
The 27-year-old Antetokounmpo was also projected to be the league’s best player in five years, narrowly edging Luka Doncic, and he won a tight race to be named MVP for the upcoming season. In other significant categories, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren tied as the best rookie in five years, Donovan Mitchell is almost unanimously expected to be with the Knicks by the trade deadline, the Celtics were picked as the team that had the best offseason and the Mavericks were tabbed as having the worst offseason.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The NBA has revised its health and safety protocols relating to COVID-19 for the 2022/23 season, tweets Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Unvaccinated players will have to undergo coronavirus testing once each week, while vaccinated players will be tested only when they show symptoms. Isolation measures will be implemented immediately following a positive test, and face masks won’t be required in team settings.
- French center Victor Wembanyama and G League guard Scoot Henderson top the projected 2023 draft class, according to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype. “Wembanyama is a physical freak who plays like a guard that can hit step-back shots and handle the ball,” a general manager told Scotto. “His durability is a concern. He’s not Kristaps Porzingis. I think he’s more talented. Defensively, he’s like Evan Mobley. Offensively, he’s like Porzingis.”
- The Fort Wayne Mad Ants – the Pacers‘ G League affiliate – announced in a press release that they have picked up the returning player rights to David Stockton in a G League trade with the Memphis Hustle.