Giannis Antetokoump Wins 2019-2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
The NBA has announced that Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokoumpo has won the 2019-2020 Defensive Player of the Year Award.
The decision was decided by 100 sports broadcasters and writers, with Giannis garnering 75 of their votes and winning in a landslide with 432 points total. Second-place was awarded to Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis with 14 first-place votes (200 points), while Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who has won each of the last two seasons, earned third with six first-place votes (187 points).
After winning the 2018-2019 NBA MVP award last season, Antetokounmpo became just the fifth player to ever win both MVP and DPOY in his career, joining the likes of Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kevin Garnett.
“At the end of the day, when you go out there and compete and when you have guys behind you and next to you that compete as hard, awards like this can come,” Giannis said. “At the end of the day, what I get from this is that you have to win. You have to do whatever it takes every day to go out there and put yourself in a position, put your team in a position to win, and good things are going to happen, and everything is gonna take care of itself.”
Still just a 25 year-old, Antetokounmpo led what is inarguably the league’s best defensive team in the Bucks, averaging 13.4 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal in 30.4 minutes per game. The small forward allowed the lowest field goal percentage in the NBA as the closet defender amongst 137 players to defend at least 550 shots, with his opponents only hitting their shots 36.3% of the time. That is the lowest field goal percentage recorded since Second Spectrum began recording the statistic for the 2013-2014 season.
“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,” he 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.”
The presumptive favorite to win the MVP award again this season, if Antetokounmpo wins, he will join Jordan (1987-88) and Olajuwon (1993-94) as the only players to ever win MVP and DPOY in the same season.
“It’s certainly meaningful. I think trying to create an identity and trying to instill in a team and an organization this is what we want to be about,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer after his team took a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series with the Orlando Magic. “To have your best player in Giannis lead the way and be honored and become the Defensive Player of the Year, it’s really who we want to be and what we want to be about.”
Aidan Dial is currently a freshman at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. An avid sports fan and golf fanatic, he is most interested in the NBA, NFL, and PGA Tour, though Aidan enjoys watching all sports. He is a sports analyst for At the Buzzer.