Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the NBA announced on Tuesday.
This is the first Defensive Player of the Year award for Antetokounmpo, who previously earned First Team All-Defense last season and Second Team honors following the 2016-17 season. Antetokounmpo joins Sidney Moncrief (1982-83, 1983-84) as the only players in Bucks history to win Defensive Player of the Year.
“Giannis being recognized as our league’s best defensive player is such an amazing accomplishment,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst.
“We are so proud of him and grateful for what he does for our team every day. Earning the Defensive Player of the Year award is about his hard work, dedication to his family, and the trust and commitment of his teammates and our coaching staff.”
“Giannis’ commitment to defending and winning is beyond incredible,” said Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. “He impacts the game with his blocked shots, rebounding and versatility. His talent is extraordinary. Combined with our team’s efforts, it’s made for a very special moment – to recognize him as the Defensive Player of the Year.”
Antetokounmpo was the top-rated defensive player on the best defense in the NBA this season as he led the league in defensive rating (97.4), helping the Bucks own the NBA’s top team defensive rating for the second consecutive season. Antetokounmpo also held his opponents to an NBA-low 39.9 field goal percentage this season and led the league in defensive win shares.
The NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, Antetokounmpo becomes the fifth player in NBA history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in a career, joining Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett. He’s also a finalist for Most Valuable Player this season and could become only the third player in NBA history to win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. The league’s 2019-20 MVP will be announced at a later date.
Defensive Player of the Year was voted on by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Antetokounmpo earned 75 first-place votes and 432 total points to win Defensive Player of the Year over fellow finalists Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert, who finished second and third respectively.