NEW YORK – The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the NBA announced today. This marks the first NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Antetokounmpo, who finished in second place last season.
Antetokounmpo, the 2018-19 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, becomes the fifth player selected as both the NBA MVP and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in a career, joining Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett.
The 6-11 Greek forward also joins Sidney Moncrief as the only players to win the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Bucks. Moncrief played for Milwaukee when he earned the honor in both the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons, the first two seasons that the award was presented.
Antetokounmpo received 75 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earned 432 total points. Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (200 points; 14 first-place votes) and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (187 points; six first-place votes) finished in second and third place, respectively. Gobert was honored as the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year in each of the previous two seasons.
Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played through March 11. The seeding games, which were played July 30 – Aug. 14 as part of the 2019-20 season restart, did not count toward voting for the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award or the league’s other traditional end-of-season awards.
In games played through March 11, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the NBA’s best defensive rating as they allowed 101.6 points per 100 possessions. With Antetokounmpo on the court, Milwaukee allowed only 96.5 points per 100 possessions, the lowest defensive rating among the more than 300 players who averaged at least 15.0 minutes per game.
From the beginning of the season through March 11, Milwaukee’s opponents shot an NBA-low 41.3 percent from the field. Antetokounmpo held his matchups to 36.5 percent shooting from the field, the lowest percentage among the more than 250 players who faced at least 300 shots.
Antetokounmpo averaged an NBA-high 11.5 defensive rebounds in games played through March 11, highlighted by nine games with at least 15 defensive rebounds. He also averaged 1.04 steals and 1.02 blocked shots, making him one of six players to average one or more in both categories.
In addition to being named the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo is a finalist for the 2019-20 Kia NBA Most Valuable Award after averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists in games played through March 11 while helping Milwaukee post an NBA-best 53-12 record during that period. TNT will announce the winner of the Kia NBA MVP Award during its coverage of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
The voting results for the 2019-20 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award are below. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Complete ballots for each voter will be posted at pr.nba.com after the announcement of all end-of-season awards.