26 August 2020 02:44
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo named 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year His 11.5 defensive rebounds per game were the most in the league, which often also allowed him to push out on the break where he was nearly unstoppable as a scorer and playmaker. Giannis Antetokoumpo is named NBA defensive player of the year and wants to share the credit Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo added to his trophy collection on Tuesday when he was recognized as the NBA's defensive player of the year for 2019-20 based on games played through March 11. The announcement came live on TNT's "Inside the NBA," where host Ernie Johnson introduced Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who was given the opportunity to bestow the award on Antetokounmpo. "Congrats to Giannis on being named defensive player of the year," Budenholzer said, sitting beside the Bucks star in a room filled with Milwaukee's players and staff. His talent is beyond special and combined with his team's it's made for a very special moment and for us to recognize his as the defensive player of the year." We trust one another, we care about one another, we believe in one another – that's why we're the best defensive team in the NBA and we're gonna keep it that way." He also became just the fifth NBA player to be named both most valuable player and defensive player of the year in his career, joining Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett.
The best defender on the league's best defensive team, Antetokounmpo earned 75 out of 100 first-place votes from the media panel that decides NBA awards. Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis finished second, edging out last year's winner, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Lopez, who served as Milwaukee's anchor at the center of the Bucks defense, earned four third-place votes. When Antetokounmpo was on the court this season, opposing teams scored just 96.5 points per 100 possessions, the lowest defensive rating among the more than 300 players who averaged at least 15 minutes per game. Later in the playoffs at a date to be determined, Antetokounmpo can add another trophy to his stash when the league announces this season's MVP.
Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Ben Simmons (32 points, one first-place vote) and Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (17, two) round out the top five vote-getters for the defensive award. After the Pacers lost to the Raptors in the 2016 first round, Paul George dapped up Drake, high-fived Toronto fans and left the court with his head held high. But after Indiana got swept by the Heat this year – the Pacers' fifth straight first-round loss – the tone has changed. The Pacers' five-year run of losing in the first round is tied for third-longest since the NBA adopted a 16-team playoff format in 1984. But more than a quarter of the league still loses in the first round each year.
Antetokounmpo is the anchor of a Bucks unit that had the top defensive rating (103.36) in the league. Antetokounmpo is also the favorite to win Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season. The 25-year-old superstar has the opportunity to join Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only two players to win both awards in the same season. Antetokounmpo averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, one steal and one block in 63 regular-season games.