The NBA has announced Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the 2020 Kia Defensive Player of the Year. Antetokounmpo finished comfortably ahead of Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Anthony Davis for the honor, with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert voted third.
The Bucks star received 75 first-place votes from the global panel consisting of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters chosen to pick the winners, amassing 432 points total. Davis tallied 200 points with 14 No. 1 selections, surpassing Gobert by 13 points.
Curiously, Davis earned more third-place votes (40) than second place (30).
Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote, and one point for every third-place vote. Only regular-season games before the four-month NBA hiatus were taken into consideration in the selection process.
Antetokounmpo has become only the fifth ever player to be named both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in his career, joining an elite club of former NBA greats: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett.
The Greek sensation can still win his second-straight MVP Award this year as he is among this season’s finalists alongside Lakers star LeBron James and James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
The Bucks held the league’s best record (53-12) and defensive rating in games played through March 11, allowing 101.6 points per 100 possessions.
With Antetokounmpo on the court, Milwaukee’s rating dipped to only 96.5 points per 100 possessions — also NBA-best among the players averaging at least 15 minutes per game.
L.A. were the league’s third-best defense before the March 11 shutdown, boasting a 105.5 defensive rating.
Alex Caruso was the Laker with the best defensive rating — and 10th league-wide — among the players averaging at least 15 minutes per game, allowing 100.3 points per 100 possessions when on the court.
Last week, it was announced Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was voted the 2020 NBA Coach of the Year. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel finished in the fifth place.
Hollins misses Lakers camaraderie but makes best of remote contributions
The Lakers entered the Orlando bubble hit by the absence of guard Avery Bradley and assistant coach Lionel Hollins.
The former opted out of the NBA restart due to health concerns for his son while Hollins was not permitted to travel with the team due to being identified as a high-risk case for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
But the Lakers coach takes part in staff meetings remotely, trying to make the most of his virtual contributions. Hollins, together with vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka who is present in the bubble, was behind the tribute Kobe Bryant video L.A. watched to seek inspiration before the start of the NBA Playoffs.
Nevertheless, Hollins has admitted he misses the camaraderie of the Lakers group, which is a big part of the team’s identity.
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