With the NBA currently on a hiatus, it is becoming less likely we will see any regular season play this year. It would not be too farfetched to believe the entire 2019-2020 season is over, so we have turned our attention to the end of season awards specifically the Defensive Player of the Year award.
When looking back at this season there are a few players who have stood out defensively and could potentially be crowned the Defensive Player of the Year:
All of these players have had solid seasons defensively, but none more influential than Giannis Antetokounmpo’s. The Greek Freak could be on course to put his name amongst the elite in basketball such as Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan if he manages to wrap up both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award.
Giannis’ defensive success this season has been largely down to the Bucks approach to defending as an entire team, which saw them on an historically great trajectory. They utilised the Greek Freak’s size and athleticism to create a system, difficult to breakdown.
His size and athleticism allowed him to excel defensively this year. He has the footwork to guard anyone at the one and two slots which is normally coupled with a considerable height advantage, making opposing teams really work to get a three-point shot off.
The athleticism he displays made Giannis a menace in the paint as well as grabbing an impressive 16 boards per 36 minutes this season. The unique skillset he possesses allows him to contest a three on the edge of the key and rotate to grab the rebound and quickly transition defence into offence.
The impact Giannis has had this season on this defensive end of the floor is truly remarkable. According to Basketball Reference the Greek Freak has a defensive rating of 96. By restricting teams to double figures, the Bucks offence has not had to majorly increase their output in order to win games. This is testament to the improved defensive efficiency Giannis and the Bucks as a collective.
This is probably going to be the beginning of seeing Giannis’ name amongst all NBA awards for the foreseeable future. With LeBron expected to begin to decline soon, there is going to be void that needs filling in the NBA. Giannis has such a unique skillset which lends him to potentially be the next ambassador for the NBA.