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Antetokounmpo voted NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives past Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier (10) during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives past Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier (10) during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. >> Giannis Antetokounmpo was voted NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the fifth player to win that award and MVP in a career.

The Milwaukee Bucks All-Star, who was MVP last year and is the favorite to repeat this season, ended the two-year reign of Utah center Rudy Gobert as Defensive Player of the Year.

Antetokounmpo received 75 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters, finishing with 432 points. Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis was second (200 points; 14 first-place votes) and Gobert (187 points; six first-place votes) third.

Antetokounmpo joined Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett as players to do the MVP-Defensive Player of the Year double. He was runner-up for the defensive award last year.

He led the Bucks to the NBA’s best record and helped them limit opponents to 101.6 points per 100 possessions, the league’s top defensive rating, as of March 11. Voting was conducted on games through then, before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo is able to handle a matchup with any frontcourt player, especially because the Bucks also have 7-footer Brook Lopez behind him at center.

Milwaukee allowed only 96.5 points per 100 possessions with Antetokounmpo on the court, giving him the lowest defensive rating among the more than 300 players who averaged at least 15 minutes per game.

The Bucks were holding opponents to an NBA-low 41.3% shooting from the field when the season was suspended and Antetokounmpo often ended up with the shots that were missed. He was leading the league with 11.5 defensive rebounds per game, while also averaging a little more than a steal and block.

He became the first Bucks player to win Defensive Player of the Year since Sidney Moncrief, who earned the first two that were awarded in the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons.

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