How the hiatus affects all 30 NBA teams

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Milwaukee Bucks: Cementing the Greek Freak’s MVP case

Even after losing to the Lakers, the Milwaukee Bucks were pretty handily the best team in the NBA. They sat 3.0 games ahead in the standings, boasted a league-best plus-11.2 point differential (3.8 points better than L.A.) and housed the NBA’s stingiest defense by a mile. The only concern here would be rust, but the Bucks are just that damn good; if anything, they could use this break to get fully healthy for a championship run.

Much like taking a step back to observe the raw data shows how much better the Bucks have been, so too does doing the same for the MVP “race” between Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James. The King built a narrative with back-to-back wins over the Clippers and Bucks, and it’d be a cool story since what he’s doing in year 17 is insane.

That’s literally all that’s in LeBron’s favor in this debate. Giannis is averaging an otherworldly 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game on 54.7 percent shooting — numbers no NBA player has ever posted in a single season, even if you stopped after assists.

If the rest of the season were canceled, the Greek Freak would own the seventh-highest Player Efficiency Rating in NBA history. He’s been superior to LeBron in points, rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, PER, win shares, Box Plus-Minus and Value Over Replacement Player … and he’s doing it all on a better team, in four fewer minutes per game.

This is a one-horse MVP race, and anyone who says differently is either ignorant or trying to sell a narrative and spice up the end-of-season voting. Taking a step away from the game for a few months and looking at the cold, hard evidence should make it blatantly obvious who the real MVP has been this season.