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Bucks Have Three Members of NBA’s All-Defensive Teams

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Giannis Antetokounmpo was First Team, and Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez were Second Team

2019-20 Milwaukee Bucks Media Day Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Although counterintuitive, considering the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense has looked atrocious as they trail the Miami Heat 3-1 in the NBA Playoffs, the NBA’s All-Defensive Team awards recognizes the league’s best defenders during the regular season, where the Bucks were worldbeaters. Giannis Antetokounmpo (First Team forward), Brook Lopez (Second Team center), and Eric Bledsoe (Second Team guard) each earned spots ahead of Tuesday night’s Game 5.

Giannis made the All-Defensive First Team last year, and was this season’s Defensive Player of the Year. His ability to roam on the weak side allowed him to wreak havoc on opposing offenses, and his impact was recognized by the voters:

Eric Bledsoe was on last year’s First Team as well, and while his individual performance declined a notch he was still a crucial part of the Bucks’ point-of-attack defense. He’s Milwaukee’s best guard when it comes to defending the P&R and getting through screens, and his lateral speed helps force ball-handlers to make the tough decisions that the Bucks’ defense prided itself on.

Brook Lopez was widely considered a snub last season, and followed that up by having an even better season this year. He improved his play recognition, communication, and patience when protecting the rim in the Bucks’ zone-drop scheme, completing the long journey from his questionable defensive reputation he earned during his Brooklyn days.

2020 has been a weird year, and the Bucks’ season was cut short and forever altered even before the Orlando bubble was a thing. However, Milwaukee had a special stretch of play that deserves recognition, no matter what happens in the playoffs. We’re glad to see these three earn spots on the NBA’s All-Defensive Teams and, hopefully, they get a chance to enjoy their time in this spotlight a little bit longer.