From the start of the NBA’s 2022-23 regular season to the end of it, Milwaukee Bucks’ big man Brook Lopez was among the favorites for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Though Lopez had a great case to win the award, it was announced that he finished second to the towering Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies. These two defensive stalwarts went back and forth on D.P.O.Y ladders all season long, but Jackson prevailed on top. There are bound to be some strong opinions regarding this final verdict.
Reaction to Bucks’ Brook Lopez finishing second in 2023 D.P.O.Y. race
Lopez’s case to win the award revolved around his impact as a shot-blocker inside. The center had a league-high 193 blocked shots this season as he proved to be a formidable obstacle at the hoop for opposing drivers all season long. At 35 years old, that is beyond impressive. To be fair, it’s not as if Jackson did not have a case. He was an excellent defender this season, and the voters simply thought he had a better argument than Lopez.
At the end of the day, regular season awards are undoubtedly nice, but they are not why this team plays the game. If anything, Lopez must use this second-place finish as some added motivation in the NBA Playoffs. Given how important Lopez is going to be in Milwaukee’s first round series vs. the Miami Heat, perhaps missing out could give the center some extra fuel immediately and bring out the best in him.
There is no denying that Lopez put together a Defensive Player of the Year-worthy regular season, but a second-place finish is where he will end up. Imagine hearing that Lopez would have even had a shot at winning the Defensive Player of the Year when he first landed in Milwaukee. It has been a common thing to say over the years, but Lopez’s transformation into a lethal rim protector since he got to Milwaukee has been one of the wildest late career changes in NBA history.
Who knows, perhaps the Bucks’ big man will make a run at the award next season once again.
Stay tuned for plenty of Milwaukee Bucks analysis throughout the 2023 NBA Playoffs.