The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez were all named to All-Defensive teams on Tuesday night.
Just before the Milwaukee Bucks‘ season came to a brutally disappointing end on Tuesday night, there was some good news as the NBA continued its incredibly slow roll out of end of season awards announcements for the 2019-20 season.
With the latest reveal coming in the form of TNT’s pre-game announcement of the NBA’s All-Defensive Teams, the Bucks were rewarded for their outstanding regular season defense as three of their players were among the 10 to receive the honor this year.
As the Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo taking his place on the All-Defensive First Team was no real surprise. It marked Giannis’ third appearance on an All-Defensive Team in his career to date, and the second consecutive season in which he earned a spot on the first team.
In what was more of a pleasant surprise than any form of concrete expectation, though, Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez were both named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team too.
That honor marks a second consecutive year for Bledsoe receiving such recognition, although he did make the first team last season. For Brook, this was very much a new experience, though, as the only time the center had previously been included on an end of season awards squad was when he made All-Rookie First Team back in his very first season.
This feat is made all the more impressive for Lopez when put in the context of how he’s differed to Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe throughout his career. While that aforementioned pair have always been lauded for their defensive impact, Brook was routinely painted as a below average defender up until not long before he signed with the Bucks in the first place.
It’s been well-documented how Lopez has reworked his offensive game, but he’s similarly worked incredibly hard on his defense, and the Bucks have built a system that goes a long way toward maximizing the former Stanford Cardinal’s greatest defensive strengths.
Taking a closer look at the voting tallies that were released after the teams were officially announced, Antetokounmpo received 97 first team votes and one second team vote, Bledsoe picked up seven first team and 45 second team votes, while Lopez received three first team votes and 61 second team votes.
In that context, Bledsoe and Lopez quite comfortably made the cut in the final voting, with no guard or center really coming all that close to pushing them out.
In the aftermath of the Bucks’ second round defeat, this news will very much just be a consolation for the players involved, but their play across the season was certainly deserving of this recognition and celebration.