LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Giannis Antetokounmpo was the Defensive Player of the Year, so it should be no surprise that he was also the leading vote-getter for the league’s All-Defensive team.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward — and favourite to win his second consecutive MVP award — appeared on 97 of the first-team ballots out of 100 cast by a global panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league.
Antetokounmpo was one of three Bucks on the 10-person squad, announced by the league Tuesday.
Also on the first team: Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
The second team selections were Los Angeles Clippers teammates Kawhi Leonard at forward and Patrick Beverley at guard, Bucks teammates Brook Lopez at centre and Eric Bledsoe at guard, and Miami forward Bam Adebayo.
Antetokounmpo, Davis, Gobert, Simmons, Adebayo, Beverley and Smart, respectively, were the top seven vote-getters in the Defensive Player of the Year balloting — so their appearances on the All-Defensive team were likely expected.
Leonard tied for ninth on that list, Lopez was 10th and Bledsoe did not receive any votes for DPOY, where voters ranked their top three choices with no regard for position.
Leonard made the All-Defensive team for the sixth time and has done so now as a member of three different teams, with his past appearances coming when he played for San Antonio and Toronto. Gobert is a first-team selection for the fourth consecutive year, the league’s longest active such streak. Davis is All-Defensive for the fourth time and Antetokounmpo for the third time; both are now two-time first-teamers as well.
Beverley is now a three-time All-Defensive team member. Smart has made the first team in back-to-back years and Simmons is on the All-Defensive team for the first time. Bledsoe was a first-teamer last year, and Lopez and Adebayo made the team for the first time.
Five members of last year’s All-Defensive team — first-teamer Paul George and second-teamers Jrue Holiday, Klay Thompson, Joel Embiid and Draymond Green — did not make this year’s squad.
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Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press