Giannis Antetokounmpo: 3 reasons why he should win Defensive Player of the Year

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 20: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 20: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images). /
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Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 02: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

1. Team defensive success

No DPOY case can be made without a top-notch team defense. You can be the greatest individual defender in the world, but if your team can’t defend anyone, you have no chance at winning this award. Thankfully for Giannis, the Bucks are the best defensive team in the league, due in large part to his effort.

The Milwaukee Bucks have the best defensive rating in the league for the second straight year. Their mark of 101.6 is more than 3 points better than the next closest team. Even more so, it’s the best team defensive rating for a season since the 2015-16 San Antonio Spurs.

Their incredible defensive rating comes from a few different things: the defensive scheme, the personnel, and rebounding.

First and foremost, Mike Budenholzer has implemented the perfect defensive scheme for the roster. His drop-back scheme encourages teams to take low-percentage midrange shots, and they’re able to completely block off the paint.

However, no scheme can be successful without the proper personnel; Milwaukee has just that. With guys like Giannis, Brook Lopez, and Robin Lopez patrolling the paint, and guards who can funnel opponents down to them, the defensive scheme runs like a well-oiled machine.

Their success shows up in the stats in big ways. The Bucks hold opponents to the lowest shooting percentage in the league, 41.2 percent. The key to that success is their ability to protect the rim. The Bucks give up the fewest number of baskets in the restricted area by far. They’ve only allowed 871 total field goals made in the paint, which is 132 fewer than the second-best team. Milwaukee also holds opponents to the worst shooting percentage on those shots as well, 54.9 percent; 4 percentage points lower than the next closest team.

You can force all the misses you want, but it means nothing if you can’t haul in the rebound. Many Bucks teams in the past had that issue, but not this team. Milwaukee has the best defensive rebound percentage and total rebound percentage in the league. The Lopez brothers have made a living boxing out opponents, and Giannis has thrived at grabbing the boards.