Giannis, Jokic, Yanis discussed on The Bill Simmons Podcast
All right, rob Mahoney is here from the ringer. He wrote about Giannis and tedi kupo today. Rob, I am feeling like Giannis, I don't know if he's there yet, but I think we're edging there. Is becoming the most disrespected superstar of his generation. You laid out some of the case today for why he should absolutely be thrown into the MVP race and every conversation, then it's not just jokic versus embiid, which I agree with. But just in general, I've never seen people go out of their way to look for more reasons not to declare somebody either the best player in the league or one beat a durian if we're going to do that. He answers every question we have in the finals last year. He plays hurt. He comes through on the biggest stages. He has iconic plays. He handles his business the right way. He crushes on both ends. He's the best offensive player in the league. He's averaging 30 11 and 6. He's carried a team that's had a lot of moving pieces during the year. He never really misses games or seems to get hurt. He's a true freak. He's in the prime of his career. What am I missing? Nothing, as far as I can see, but most disrespected is a big word this week when Russell Westbrook is getting laughed out of buildings, basically. So the threshold has changed a little bit. But he's earned the disrespect in a lot of ways and also absolutely. When you talk a lot of shit and you carry yourself a certain way and then you're on your way down. Everybody lines up to get their punches in, right? With Giannis, it's like people are like begrudgingly, respectful for him. And I don't really understand it. Maybe I'm arguing with the straw man, I don't know. No, you're not. I mean, just earlier this season, I think it was Tracy mcgrady, who was saying, oh, if Yan has played in our era, he would just be another guy. He wouldn't be as effective. It's weird that you'll hear legends from previous generations say, oh, the Steph Curry's couldn't cut it, but also Yanis, the guy who lives at the rim plays completely inside, totally physical, all energy. I don't know how you can have it both ways. I don't know what they think of the sweet spot of their game was that neither of those guys could have thrived. But Yanis is one of those, one of those players who I think in any era of NBA basketball could have been amazing, but is particularly empowered by this one by putting the ball in his hands by enabling him in that way. And once you do that, I mean, there's just no turning back. That's how you get to these MVP levels, season after season after season to the point where I guess it's old hat at this point, I guess, I guess we've already hit the voter fatigue stage at I think he's 27 years old. Which is wild. But he's incredible. An incredible two way player. Well, what made you want to write this week's piece? What were you seeing that wasn't out there that you're like, I got to do this? Well, I think there's a combination of things. First, it was just the narrowing of the MVP race to jokic and embiid. When to me, it was a three man pool. It was, how are we parsing these three guys? And why is Giannis being boxed out of this conversation? But we're also at the point in terms of awards voting and consideration where it's kind of why not season. You know, like why shouldn't I vote Carl Anthony towns all NBA center third team over Rudy Gobert? Like why wouldn't I do that? And so it's like, if you're thinking about who the why not MVP pick is, I mean, I think you can make an argument for Luca with how strong he's come on over the back half of the season, but for me, it's Giannis. And you look at every advanced stat and Giannis is right there in the thick of it, usually with jokic, usually above and bead. And I mean, it's not a terribly complicated calculus that I arrived at, which is and we talked about this in the piece. If Giannis is right there in the running for the scoring title, and he might be the defensive player of the year, how is that guy not the MVP? And his stats are slightly better than embiid's. If you're just going offense off, it's weird. Look, I've been talking about this for, I feel like my whole life that I've had a platform of how the MVP becomes narratives. And people got seduced by the embiid narrative pretty early on. It doesn't mean that he's not a worthy candidate. But he has a one before. He took a step up. He's had some nationally televised games where he kicked ass. And I think people Yanis is just weird point where people kind of expect it, and it's hard for them to be impressed by him. But I'm constantly impressed by him. As I've discussed many times, I feel like the MVP is always evolving week to week, and that's why it's so dangerous to lock into anything before like the last ten games. Totally. I always felt like it was a three man race. Last week I was definitely leaning toward jokic just because I'm constantly amazed by how kind of unreliable his team is. You know? And I felt like if the records were all going to be around the same with Milwaukee and Denver and Philly, then we have to think like, all right, now.