While the Eastern Conference Finals have tightened up considerably, the Milwaukee Bucks received a nice bit of news that could lift some spirits as they focus on their series against the Toronto Raptors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe have both been named to the 2018-19 NBA All-Defensive First Team!!#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/z5nZwgai57— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 22, 2019
Giannis Antetokounmpo was third in total points (193), just a hair behind Paul George (195) and top vote-getter Rudy Gobert (196). Eric Bledsoe (100) was well behind top guard Marcus Smart (145) and a decent amount ahead of Jrue Holiday (90).
NBA announces All-Defensive teams: pic.twitter.com/BzLEVy3fcy— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) May 22, 2019
Giannis and Bledsoe’s placement on the list makes it the first time since 1991 that Milwaukee has a player on the first team, and it’s only the third time in franchise history that the team has had two players on the first team.
Giannis has long been considered one of the league’s top defenders, as his length and mobility make him a devastating weak-side defender. Bledsoe has also carried defense as his calling card throughout his career, but it was this season that really saw him blossom into a focal point of the Bucks’ scheme.
Included on the second team is Joel Embiid, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kawhi Leonard (who just so happens to be contributing to the Raptors’ suddenly-stout answer to Milwaukee’s offense).
With Game Five of the ECF scheduled for tomorrow night, the Bucks don’t have time to bask in the glory of regular season achievements, but fans at least can take a moment to revel in the recognition that Bledsoe and Giannis earned. Here’s hoping this is the first of many defensive accolades for each!