Milwaukee Bucks: Revisiting Brook Lopez’s ambitious 2020-21 goals

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 27 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 27 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, Miami Heat: Duncan Robinson
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – MAY 15 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Revisiting Brook Lopez’s 2020-21 goals with the Milwaukee Bucks: No. 2 – Maintaining defensive excellence

Since joining the Bucks during the 2018 offseason, Lopez has developed into one of the most formidable shot-blockers in the association. His efforts during the turbulent 2019-20 season helped him earn an All-Defensive selection, the first of his career. Given how much this team is known for their defensive excellence, they needed Lopez to have another solid year on that side of the basketball.

Although he did not earn another All-Defensive nod, Lopez certainly had a solid year defensively in 2020-21. According to, Lopez led the league in total shots contested last season with 1,185, with the second closest being Rudy Gobert at 1,051 total. That ability to contest shots helped him serve as a lethal shot-blocking presence as the big man once again did a stellar job of protecting the rim for the Bucks by tallying the seventh most blocks in the league with 103.

While he was solid in the bigger picture, that is not to say that Lopez was perfect. As Budenholzer showed a willingness to try new defensive approaches, Lopez often found himself in an awkward position. If the Bucks went to a full-on switching scheme, Lopez would have sat out, as he did on several occasions during the regular season to close games. When they would keep him in during those situations, the big man would often get hunted, which would hurt the Bucks. These issues led many to believe that the team should look to trade the big man, but they sure should be glad that they did not after this past postseason.

Lopez’s efforts helped the Bucks boast the best defensive rating among any team in the 2021 playoffs, which helped them ultimately secure the title. Of course, the play that stands out the most is Lopez’s clutch block on Kevin Durant in Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets, which could have saved Milwaukee’s season entirely. Despite a few blips, Lopez was great throughout the postseason, and while he often does not get the credit he deserves for his defensive stature, he unquestionably made good with this goal.