Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Giannis, Harden, George finalists for NBA Most Valuable Player

Giannis, Harden, George finalists for NBA Most Valuable Player

Mike Budenholzer receives the nod after the Bucks' 60-22 season, with the NBA's best record and home court advantage in the postseason.

The Frenchman was equally effective defensively in 2018-19, leading the Jazz to the league's second-best overall defense (behind Antetokounmpo's Bucks) while playing in 81 contests, sitting out only the meaningless last game of the season against the Clippers. He also led the league in steals (2.21) and is a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year.

Along with George, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Houston Rockets guard James Harden are also up for the MVP award after each posting stellar years.

George was viewed by many as a strong candidate for MVP in the first half of the season before he struggled with a pair of shoulder injuries toward the end of the season.

Rookie of the Year: Deandre Ayton, Phoenix; Luka Doncic, Dallas; Trae Young, Atlanta. George was selected Most Improved in 2012-13, and Antetokounmpo was honoured in 2016-17. Although the awards have already been voted on by a panel of media members, those two categories were highly competitive.

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The winners will be announced June 24 (June 25 AEST) during the NBA Awards.

George was named an All-Star for the sixth time in his career and finished the season averaging a career-high 28 points and 2.2 steals.

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; Paul George, Oklahoma City; Rudy Gobert, Utah.

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