The Milwaukee Bucks took it to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night, forcing a Game 7 in the second-round series. As usual, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant were on full display, as the two went at each other like a couple of Heavyweight champion fighters. The Greek Freak finished the evening with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and three assists, while Durant ended with 32 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists.
It seems we’ve come to a point in their careers where it’s time we start comparing the two superstars. Durant is much further along in his career, as he’s 32 years old and closer to retirement, albeit, who knows exactly when that time will be. As for Giannis, he’s currently 26 years old and has a list of accolades to his name already.
Kevin Durant does have two championships and two Finals MVPs to his name, but Antetokounmpo’s accomplishments cannot be ignored. They’re both great players in their own right, but has Giannis surpassed Kevin Durant already? This seems like a crazy thing to argue given KD’s resume and his recent historic performance, but we’re going to try to do it anyway.
1. Is already a two-time MVP award winner
At just 26 years old, Giannis Antetokounmpo already has two MVPs under his belt, whereas Kevin Durant only has one. The Greek Freak accomplished this feat after becoming only the 12th player in league history to win MVP in two consecutive years, first in the 2018-19 season and then again in the 2019-20 season. Kevin Durant won his first and only MVP back in the 2013-14 season when he was just 25 years old. However, he has yet to win the prestigious award again.
Durant might have two Finals MVPs, but he has also played with better teams to help him get to the Finals in the first place. Antetokounmpo has consistently carried the Bucks since emerging as a star in 2016. Based on how Giannis plays the game, it’s not crazy to think he wins more MVPs down the road and perhaps get in that Finals MVP game.
2. More of a two-way player than Durant
Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t just a dominant force on the offensive end, but he’s also one of the best defenders in the league. He has proven his worth as a defender by winning Defensive Player of the Year in the 2019-20 season. Antetokounmpo became just the third person in league history to win MVP and DPOY in the same season, joining Michael Jordan and David Robinson.
Kevin Durant is a terrific defender in his own right when he’s engaged, but he’s no Giannis on that end. He has never won DPOY and likely never will. Defense is where Giannis Antetokounmpo sets himself apart from Kevin Durant.
3. He hasn’t joined a superteam … so far
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career is far from over, but so far he seems to be staying in Milwaukee for the long haul. The Bucks were a laughingstock of the league until Giannis’ arrival. Since then, the front office has built a team around their superstar as they attempt to win an NBA championship this season.
Team loyalty is a rarity in the NBA these days, as we’ve seen a long list of players join superteams to chase an NBA title. Kevin Durant has done so twice so far. First, he joined the Golden State Warriors, who already were stacked with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. After winning two championships with the Warriors, Durant found himself in Brooklyn teamed up with Kyrie Irving, and they were then joined by James Harden and Blake Griffin.
Giannis has remained in Milwaukee his entire career so far and doesn’t seem to want to leave. In fact, the Bucks finished as one of the top teams in the league yet again, leaning on Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday throughout the season. They now face a Game 7 against KD and the Nets, and beating them to get to the Eastern Conference Finals would be a great accomplishment, even if Brooklyn is injured.