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NBA players think Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo should be first choice when starting a roster from scratch

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

In a recent poll of 125 NBA players conducted by The Athletic, peers voted for the best choice to start a roster with, as Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo emerged as the top choice.

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (36.4%)
  2. Anthony Davis (10.4%)
  3. Joel Embiid (8.8%)
  4. Kevin Durant (8%)
  5. LeBron James (7.6%)
  6. Stephen Curry (6.4%)
  7. Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard (3.2%)
  8. Luka Doncic (2.4%)
  9. Jayson Tatum, Paul George, Trae Young, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook (1.6%)
  10. James Harden, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Udonis Haslem, Shaquille Harrison, Jrue Holiday (1%)

The 6-foot-11 Bucks forward possesses both youth and an enviable skill set that ranges from a high motor at both ends of the floor, uncanny defensive intangibles, and otherworldly athleticism — making him an outright MVP candidate this season.

The most surprising part of the vote, however, is how stark a contrast there is between the two MVP contestants — as more than a third of the polled players voted for The Greek Freak, yet James Harden received only a 1% split of the vote.

Another common factor among the top choice is youth, as Anthony Davis (26 years old), Joel Embiid, (25) and Antetokounmpo (24) all have a long career ahead of them, making it easier to build a longterm foundation around them.

Other notable players like Golden State Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry also made the top-six, along with every preseason’s MVP favorite LeBron James, who is still a popular choice, despite missing the postseason for the first time in 14 years.