Because of all that’s gone on with the Milwaukee Bucks these past few months, it’s almost easy to overlook the fact that this team made one of their most important decisions early on in the offseason. This came on the first few days of NBA free when the Bucks re-signed Brook Lopez to a two-year extension worth $48 million.
Lopez is not exactly a superstar, but he figures to be an integral piece alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard as this team looks to recapture the championship this coming season.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Brook Lopez Deemed as DPOY Favorite
The Athletic recently surveyed coaches from around the NBA to determine the players that they expect to stand out in 2023-24 in terms of their defense. Lopez was a prominent figure in the said survey as the veteran big man ranked as the No. 2 favorite to win the coveted Defensive Player of the Year award.
Not only that, but Lopez also got 20 out of 24 votes to be named in the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team once the season comes to an end.
“It’s been a renaissance for him these last few years,” a Western Conference assistant coach said. “Anything above or below the restricted area, he’s got it covered. He has a real knack for protecting the rim and blocking shots.”
At 35, there’s no denying that Lopez is getting up there in the years. However, this is also what makes his dominance on the defensive end even more impressive. Lopez is anything but an athletic player but despite his lack of leaping ability, he’s still one of the best rim protectors in the business:
“It’s a really good combination of scheme and maximizing his strengths as a defender,” said a Western Conference assisant coach. “So, they play in a very deep drop in a lot of their coverages, and he does an excellent job of getting deflections and altering shots and/or blocking shots at the rim using his size and his athleticism and his length.”
Needless to say, Brook Lopez is going to be a key factor for Milwaukee and their title hopes this year.
Jaren Jackson Jr. Reigns Supreme
The one man coaches believe Lopez will need to surpass in order to take home the DPOY title is none other than Memphis Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson Jr. The 24-year-old is out to defend his crown in 2023-24, and he is currently considered the favorite to win it again this season.
“(The media voters) hit the nail on the head,” a West assistant coach said about Jackson. “The only knock on him is his rebounding. He doesn’t rebound at a high level. But he’s so versatile. He can do so many things for you.”
Lopez and Jackson have very different styles of play. The latter is a much more athletic big than the Bucks center, and this could be a major advantage that gives JJJ the edge.
“He’s a tremendous force blocking shots, and having the luxury of Steven Adams (as a teammate) to bang down low allowed him the ability to roam a lot,” a Western Conference assistant coach said.
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