The Greek Freak just won the Defensive Player of the Year award, leaving behind LA Lakers’ Antony Davis and Utah Jazz’ Rudy Gobert. The reigning MVP had 432 points, fiercely holding the first place with 75 first-place votes. AD had 200 points with 14 first-place votes. The ex-award winner Rudy Gobert had 187 points with 6 first-place votes.
The French center has won the defensive player of the year for the past two years. However, this year Giannis and the Bucks were far more superior and earned the honors.
Giannis held opponents to 36.3% shooting when he was defending them during the regular season, according to Second Spectrum data. That is the lowest field goal percentage allowed by any player in a season since Second Spectrum started tracking the stat in 2013-14 (minimum 525 field goal attempts).
In the regular season, Antetokounmpo lead his team to a 102.5 defensive rating, a league-best. The Milwaukee team allowed only 38,7% opponent’s points in the paint, opposing to LA Lakers’ 45,8%.
Some of the reactions were that Giannis fully deserved it. However, as in any award, there are critics.
“Obviously, I think I can get way better. I can be more active. I can block more shots. I can be in the passing lanes more,” Giannis said said. “But going back again, having the best defensive team in the NBA, making your team being the best defensive year, I think it’s been my best year, but you can always get better. You can always improve.”
Antetokounmpo is one of just five players to win both MVP and DPOY in his career. He joins Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, and David Robinson to achieve this level.
If the Greek Freak wins the MVP award this year as well, he will join a far more exclusive club. Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only two players to win both MVP and DPOY in the same season. It’s safe to say that the Bucks’ 6-feet-11 power-forward is working hard on cementing his place in history.
The Bucks finished the season holding the first seed with 56 wins. Currently, they are one of the favorites to win the chip. They’re up 3-1 against the Orlando Magic and will matchup with Miami Heat in the next round if they advance. The Heat swept Indiana Pacers and are currently waiting for the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. If Bucks go past the Heat, they will face either Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors in the Conference Finals.
Certainly, if they manage to win the championship it will be mostly thanks to their superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who would in that case join only Hakeem Olajuwon as one of the only two players to have won all three — MVP, DPOY and the championship in the same year.