The Greek Freak made history once again. Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo won the 2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) and became the fifth player in NBA history to win both the Most Valuable Player and DPOY in their career.
In a landslide vote, the Greek Freak gobbled up over 75% of the votes. Anthony Davis (LA Lakers) came in second, followed by two-time DPOY Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz).
The Greek Freak is the reigning MVP and has the inside track to win the prestigious award once again. He averages 29.5 points per game (ranked #5 in the NBA), pulls down 13.8 rebounds a game (ranked #2), and dishes out 5.6 assists per game. He also averaged 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.
“Obviously, I can get way better and be more active,” said Antetokounmpo. I can block more shots. Be in the passing lanes more. It’s been my best year, but you can always get better. You can always improve.”
“It’s certainly meaningful,” said Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer. “To have your best player in Giannis lead the way and be honored and become the Defensive Player of the Year, it’s really who we want to be and what we want to be about.”
By securing this year’s DPOY, the Greek Freak ends Gobert’s reign as the NBA’s top defender. Gobert won the distinction in 2018 and 2019.
Coming into the restart, the oddsmakers at DraftKings marked the Greek Freak as the favorite to dethrone Gobert as a -230 favorite to win the DPOY. Anthony Davis was right behind him at +150 odds. Gobert was a long shot at +2500.
Bucks Up 3-1
The #1 Milwaukee Bucks won three games in a row after dropping Game 1 to the #8 Orlando Magic. The Magic stunned the Bucks with a 122-110 upset in the opening game, but that was the wake-up call the Bucks needed to get their heads screwed on straight.
The Magic are +14 underdogs heading into Game 5. After losing Game 1, the Bucks won the last three games by an average of 15 points and covered every time. They are 3-1 ATS in the postseason.
“We found our identity again, which is to play defense,” said Antetokounmpo. “No matter if we score the ball or not, we’ve got to keep defending.”
The Greek Freak averaged 31.2 points and 15.7 rebounds per game in the playoffs, but the Bucks really shine when Khris Middleton makes his mark. Middleton scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds in a win in Game 4.
The Bucks have the opportunity to put away the Magic in Game 5. They’d hate to extend the series any longer than it should be. All three other teams remaining in the Eastern Conference had an easy road in the first round. The Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics coasted to a 4-0 sweep of their opening round opponents. The Heat await the winner of the Bucks/Magic series.
MVP + DPOY = HALL OF FAME?
The Greek Freak joins an exclusive club of NBA superstars who excelled on both ends of the court. Only four other players won the MVP and DPOY. That list of luminaries includes Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Kevin Garnett.
The Admiral, aka David Robinson, won the DPOY in 1992. Olajuwon won the DPOY in back-to-back seasons in 1993 and 1994.
NBA MVP AND DPOY WINNERS
Garnett, who recently appeared in the Adam Sandler gambling film ‘Uncut Gems’, won the DPOY in 2008.
Jordan won the NBA DPOY in 1988, several years before he began his championship run with the Chicago Bulls in 1991. During Jordan’s fourth season in the NBA in 1987-88, he averaged 35 points per game and won the NBA MVP, but he also earned a nod as the NBA’s best lockdown defender.