Giannis Antetokounmpo playing at MVP level as he leads Milwaukee Bucks to 8-0 start

The Milwaukee Bucks remain the only undefeated team in the NBA after their 115-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, securing their best start in franchise history at 8-0.

Antetokounmpo has been clear about his goals for this year: He doesn’t want another MVP award, he just wants another championship.

If he and the Bucks continue performing the way they have thus far, it seems he could find himself with both.

Antetokounmpo recorded 26 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists Friday night, his 30th career triple-double. With that performance, he passed Grant Hill (29) for 17th all-time in triple-doubles. He now holds the top spot on the NBA’s Kia MVP ladder, meaning Antetokounmpo is ranked as the top MVP contender above Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Ja Morant and Devin Booker respectively.

The Bucks’ weapons

Antetokounmpo’s teammates aren’t slacking either. Jrue Holiday scored 29 points and Antetokounpo made sure he received the recognition, pushing him to do the postgame interview with ESPN’s Ros Gold-Onwude in his place.

Between them, Antetokounmpo and Holiday scored or assisted on 87 of the Bucks' 115 points.

When asked in September about his goals for the season, Bobby Portis simply tweeted “6th man.” He put up 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the victory Friday night. At one point, a “Bobby!” chant erupted after he hit a corner 3-pointer during a Timberwolves run in the third quarter and returned to score again from almost the same spot with just over a minute to go in the third.

“That was crazy,” Portis said, regarding the love from the crowd. “That was cool, but definitely humble in victory, get ready for another big game tomorrow to try to extend the streak.”

Rookie guard MarJon Beauchamp also had a breakout game. He hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, finishing with a career-high 14 points off the bench in just his fifth NBA game. Before that performance, he only had two field goals as a Buck.

“He's just kind of getting a better feel, getting more confident. We're getting more confident in him,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He's just got a competitiveness, a pureness that I think his teammates enjoy him and are excited for him.”

That competitiveness is something Antetokounpo sees in the whole team. “I'm just proud of how the team is playing," he said. "How we're defending together and how we're moving the ball. How we're getting open shots. How we're being unselfish and how we're building good habits. Hopefully those habits can carry over to the next game and to the 74 games we have left plus playoffs."

The Bucks play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 02: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks in action against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Fiserv Forum on November 02, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading the MVP watchlist in the Milwaukee Bucks' 8-0 start. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)