Given the sour end to the Milwaukee Bucks season, some of these end of year awards probably feel a bit like salt in the wound for fans, but it’s worth taking a moment in this turbulent time to acknowledge the success of Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez making the All-Defense First Team for this season.
The 2022-23 Kia NBA All-Defensive First Team:— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 9, 2023
▪️ Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
▪️ Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks
▪️ Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
▪️ Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
▪️ Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers pic.twitter.com/Qc5eTBeBkx
It’s no surprise Lopez is on there given he was a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award and Jrue Holiday took home the “award” for top defender in The Athletic’s player poll last month (Jimmy Butler must not have voted in that one...). It may be a bit surprising to not see Giannis Antetokounmpo on here for some fans, but I can’t say it’s too crazy? There were a lot of power forwards dominating the DPOY ballot this year so it’s easy to edge off someone who had to shoulder such a large offensive burden for much of this year. However, Giannis did earn a ton of attention from voters. So much that he actually had more points than Dillon Brooks or Bam Adebayo, but due to positional restrictions he missed out.
It’s also a testament to Brook Lopez that throughout his storied career, he will now have two All-Defense finishes after being written off as a liability on that end for much of his time in the NBA.
This will be the last vestige of Coach Bud’s regular season dominating defensive style during his tenure. While the team will certainly be soul-searching this summer, at least two of its core pieces can pat themselves on the back for a bit. Moving forward, it’ll certainly be interesting to see if Milwaukee maintains such a stranglehold on these All-Defense teams under a new coach.
UPDATE: Giannis saw the news and shortly after his Instagram was updated...