Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez has solidified himself as the DPOY

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks’ center Brook Lopez is making an extremely strong case to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award in the 2022-2023 NBA regular season. Let’s go one step further and declare that he most definitely deserves to win it and ultimately should win it.

Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez has solidified himself as the DPOY

Lopez is tied for second in the NBA during the 2022-2023 regular season averaging 2.5 blocks per game. Overall, he leads the NBA in total blocks with 187, which is just one of contributing factors as to why the Milwaukee Bucks’ center is the best defensive player in the league this season.

With Lopez being a frontrunner for DPOY, he has helped the Milwaukee Bucks achieve the top defensive rating in the league overall since the All-Star break, as well as the overall best record in the league. He has revolutionized his game on both ends of the floor, just as he’s about to turn 35 years old on April 1.

He has clearly become one of the best rim protectors in the league, if not the best rim protector. He is very astute in so many ways.

Lopez’s game has evolved defensively in many ways. He takes great angles when guarding opposing players and protecting the paint. He has perfected his timing, specifically when it comes to blocking shots.

It is quite evident that Lopez has become the most important player on the Bucks from a defensive perspective. In the two games that he has missed this year, you could sense a glaring weakness in terms of clogging the lane and protecting the paint.

When he’s not on the floor, the Bucks sorely lack that rim protection, aside from when Giannis Antetokounmpo slides over to the five spot. He really has become the quarterback of the defense.

Lopez is the master at playing drop defense. He is constantly adjusting his position on the floor by lowering his stance and not raising his hands, which gives the illusion that the side angle of the rim is open for the offensive player he’s guarding.

He’s so good at making up for his vertical foot speed by defending purely with angles. He has perfected this area of his game on the defensive end of the floor.

The drop coverage the Bucks use on defense when trying to guard pick and rolls, would not nearly be effective as it is if it wasn’t for Brook Lopez being the anchor of it. He’s not a good defender because of the Bucks’ defensive scheme, but the Bucks’ defensive scheme is very good because of Brook Lopez.

He doesn’t really have to exert a ton of energy defending the pick-and-roll because he wants opposing players to take mid-range jump shots. When they don’t and then decide to take it to the rim, he’s already there waiting on the ground and lets them go up for the shot.

This is when he then uses his 7-foot-6 wingspan to get a hand on the ball and block the shot. His rim protection is one of the reasons the Bucks can get away with drop coverage in the first place. They don’t have to worry about him ever getting taken advantage of on the inside.

Overall, Lopez is too big and strong to be muscled out of the way in the paint. He uses his size and strength to his advantage on most possessions.

It’s no secret that Lopez is having the best defensive season of his career for the Milwaukee Bucks. As mentioned above, he’s the overall leader in total blocks so far this season, is tied for second in blocks per game, is the anchor of the best defense in the league, has only missed two games this season and has contested the most shots in the league by a wide margin.

That easily translates to DPOY, even if he is one of the least flashy defenders in the NBA, who doesn’t rely on his athleticism to be effective.

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Lopez is the prime example of how older players in their mid-30s can still be elite and complicate as many things as possible for the opposing team.