Giannis Lists Teammate As DPOY

The Milwaukee Bucks sit in the third seed, only 2.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. They are also ranked third in the league in team defensive rating behind the Cavaliers and the Grizzlies. A huge part of that has been former defensive player of the year and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, Giannis listed his teammate Brook Lopez as a strong candidate to win the DPOY award this season.

In the post-game conference, Giannis mentioned Lopez and his presence on the team. He felt that in his opinion, "and Jrue would probably agree, Defensive Player of the Year." In response, Jrue Holiday confirmed, "100%."

Lopez was not known for his defense early in his career. In fact, after playing nine seasons with the Nets he currently still holds the record for the most points scored for the franchise. After signing only a one-year contract with the Bucks in 2018, he had to transform his game with the emergence of Giannis. He had to look to defense to prove his worth and impact the game. In his first season with the team, he averaged 2.2 blocks. 

The Bucks have the luxury now of holding three players that could make their case on the defensive end: Giannis, Holiday, and Lopez. For Lopez, he is currently at the top of the ladder for the defensive player of the year award. He currently leads the league in total blocks with a 101 and is tied for second in blocks per game with 2.6 with Nic Claxton of the Nets. That is why the re-signing of Lopez in 2019 was crucial for the Bucks to continue their success on defense.

The seven-footer is definitely a presence that opposing teams are aware of whenever they face Milwaukee. He has only missed one game this season and started every game he's played in so far. That allows Giannis to focus his efforts on offense, especially with the absence of Khris Middleton. The Bucks play the Hawks tomorrow night, where Lopez looks to continue to be a menace on defense.

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