2. Antetokounmpo’s Next Step
Per the Action Network, James is the early MVP favorite for next season. Antetokounmpo isn’t far behind at +400 odds versus James’ +300. Antetokounmpo’s game has gotten better every year, and he has the chance to be the best two-way player in the NBA. His length and athleticism make him a defensive nightmare. His athleticism and body size make him a monster on offense. He can get to the rim at will while distributing effectively.
Shooters will be spread around the floor, including lineups with four shooters around Antetokounmpo. This will give him additional operating space to get to the rim. His career-high in points per game is 26.9. It would be a shock if he didn’t blow past that number this season. While he should increase that number, his efficiency should also go up. His shots won’t go up, but he will have far more open attempts at the rim, which he is excellent at converting.
Antetokounmpo will also be the team’s best defender at any position. He will consistently match up with the best opposing wing on a nightly basis. With a more switchy team system around him, he won’t have to chase them all over the floor. While the past few years MVP trophies have gone to offensive marvels, Antetokounmpo could bring the trophy back to two-way players. He started last year as an MVP candidate, but he has a strong chance to finish this year that way.