May 17 (UPI) — Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George were named finalists for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award, the league announced Friday.
Harden, who is the league’s reigning MVP, led the league in scoring with 36.1 points per game this season. Antetokounmpo, the only player out of the three finalists whose team remains in the postseason, led the Bucks to a league-best 60 wins in the regular season and ranked third in the NBA in points (27.1), sixth in rebounds (12.5) and 10th in blocks (1.5) per game.
George paced the NBA with 2.2 steals per game and put up career highs in points (28.0), rebounds (8.2) and assists (4.1) per contest. He is also a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, along with Antetokounmpo and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz big man won the award last year.
The 2019 NBA Awards are June 24 in Los Angeles. Below are the rest of the awards finalists:
Rookie of the Year
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Sixth Man Award
Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Most Improved Player
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Coach of the Year
Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets
Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers