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Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks' forward Pau Gasol compares Giannis Antetokounmpo to former teammate Kobe Bryant; picks him for MVP

#Giannis Gasol

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been impressing everyone with his incredible play this season - especially his new teammate Pau Gasol.

Gasol hasn't even been a member of the Milwaukee Bucks for a full month yet and he's already finding similarities between his current teammate and his highest profile teammate of all-time - Kobe Bryant.

"He puts in the work just like the greatest players do," Gasol told NBA.com after Giannis' 28 points, 11 rebound performance to lead the Bucks to a 131-121 road win over the Brooklyn Nets.

"Kobe was an absolute maniac as far as putting in the work early, late, at any time because he was obsessed by being the best and that's what it takes and [Giannis] also puts in the work, maybe a different schedule because Kobe was a little off as far as his schedule goes but he's got the desire to be great and he's very aggressive, he approaches the game in a very competitive manner and he loves it."

'The Greek Freak' is on the cusp of a historic season - he's in the running to become the second European to win the MVP award after Dirk Nowitzki won it in 2007.

At just 24-years-old, Gianni would be the youngest ever winner born outside of the United States.

Gasol sees it - in his mind, his teammate should win the MVP award over the other names that are in the conversation including James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

"For sure he's the MVP," Gasol said. "When you're the best player on the best team you should get that type of recognition.

"It's not an automatic thing but the type of season he's having is not a good season, it's a great season, a dominant season.

"Yes James [Harden] puts up incredible numbers, yes Russell [Westbrook] gets triple-doubles and they have been rewarded already but this guy is leading this team to the best record in the league so I think that should put him over the top in that discussion."

Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.4 points, 12.5 rebounds and six assists per game for the league-leading Bucks along with leading the league in efficiency (30.6 PER) and defensive rating (98.9).

"As a player, he impacts the game in so many ways. I love the way he approaches the game, how hard he works when he's not on the floor, he's committed to being great and that's what it takes," Gasol said. "He spends a lot of time at the facility, on our off days he comes in, he does the work, he prepares. If you want to be that type of player that's what you've got to do.

"At a young age he's shown great maturity, great desire and that's what surprises me the most."

Gasol is currently sidelined with a left ankle injury and is expected to return to the Bucks during the Playoffs but in the meantime, he's enjoying his front-row view of his teammate and the NBA's must-see player.

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