Giannis Antetokounmpo: 3 big improvements made in 2019-20 season

(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 02: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 02: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Protecting the rim

Last but certainly not least, Antetokounmpo keeps asserting himself as the most versatile and valuable defender in the NBA.

By raw and counting numbers, the seven-year forward’s steal and block stats have fallen back year over year. However, that doesn’t nearly tell the whole story of how Antetokounmpo impacts the Bucks’ interior defense and ability to protect the basket.

Antetokounmpo, in combination with either Lopez brother, have helped the Bucks achieve the best defense in the league for the second straight season. And as’s John Schuhmann noted here, the 36.7 opposing paint points per 100 possessions the Bucks allowed this season is the lowest mark an NBA team has posted in 13 seasons.

While he hasn’t racked up the number of blocked shots that Brook Lopez has done this season, Antetokounmpo’s ability to alter shots at the rim has led to him posting the best defended field goal percentage mark in the league at 41.8 percent. That’s down from the 52.7 defended field goal percentage he compiled last season, which is just a remarkable drop-off.

All of that has also made Antetokounmpo one of the most prolific rebounders in the league, which is fitting with the Bucks’ pulling in the most defensive rebounds a team has collected in the 3-point era.

The totality of the Bucks’ defensive dominance can be attributed to many factors, contributors and the system that the Bucks’ coaching staff instituted. But Antetokounmpo stands as the biggest reason why they’re able to smother their opponents on that side of the ball.

Next. All options remain in play for potential season resumption. dark

And while we wait for the 2019-20 season to continue in some fashion down the line, we’re lucky to know that Antetokounmpo’s game stands the best it’s ever been.