Giannis or Jokic: who’s the superior player? | Good Word with Goodwill

Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill is joined by NBA insider Tom Haberstroh to discuss why the battle of two-time MVPs is the most intriguing matchup in the NBA. Hear the full conversation on “Good Word with Goodwill” – part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast – and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.




VINCENT GOODWILL: The most intriguing match-up right now in terms of present and future and that dreaded word legacy. I hate the word legacy, mind you. I hate it. But that best match-up right now in terms of how the present and the future is Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. We don’t think about these guys as being the torch bearers because we are still very much in the LeBron era, the Steph era, the Kevin Durant era.




But the winner of the last several MVPs, two of the last three finals MVPs have been these guys. And it seems like Jokic is the prohibitive favorite, would you say for MVP this year. And I feel like this year could break the tie of best player of this generation. Whatever this generation is. Do you see it the same way that this unspoken of rivalry that’s right before our eyes?


TOM HABERSTROH: For me, I think if I’m going to pick one going forward or one right now, I’m leaning towards Jokic. And that was really hard. I remember writing this thing about Giannis Antetokounmpo, a couple of years ago for his MVP. And I said Giannis Antetokounmpo has the most unassisted dunks in the NBA. And that’s why he’s MVP. And the reason why I said that, why Giannis is so dominant and so unguardable is he can create a dunk out of nothing.


You can’t stay in front of him because of his step, his quickness, his handle. And you can’t prevent him because he’s so powerful and strong and long to dunk the ball. He is a one man fast break every time he gets the ball. However, there’s one way to stop Giannis and that’s getting him to the free throw line. If you need a loophole from the referees to not call a 10 second violation, I feel like it’s got to be Jokic.


I feel more comfortable having Jokic in a big moment making the right play. And I just feel like he has fewer weaknesses that you can point to and be like yeah, there’s nothing you can do. I was talking to another coach who was like, I don’t know if there is a blueprint to stop Jokic. You can’t foul him.



To me, Jokic is the superior player right now. And also going forward, I don’t have the injury question of like he doesn’t need his athleticism to continue playing an MVP level going forward because of his jump shot and his footwork. Giannis, I feel like those two things, free throws and the athleticism, I just feel like going forward. I think Jokic is a guy.


VINCENT GOODWILL: And I’ll say this as I pick Jokic. Like you pick Jokic. But if we see Giannis and Jokic in the finals this year, I won’t be mad.



Gideon Canice

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