MILWAUKEE — Anchoring the NBA’s fourth-best regular season defense from the point guard and center positions respectively, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks landed on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team for the 2022-23 season.
Holiday, 32, makes his fifth All-Defensive team as one of the most prolific perimeter defenders of his generation. Although his 1.2 steals and 0.4 blocks per game may look modest at the onset, Holiday is tasked with defending the best guard — if not the best player — of any opposing team on a night-to-night basis.
As a result, the team performed much better with him on the floor in general. Holiday led the Bucks in on/off differential (per 100 possessions) at + 12.8.
While Jrue set the tone on the perimeter, Lopez commanded the paint in a thoroughly influential and somewhat surprising way this season. The 35-year-old led the NBA in total shot contests and shot contests per game while ranking No. 1 in total shots blocked (193).
Early in his career, Lopez was regarded as a high-level post scorer who leveraged his stature to score near the rim. He wasn’t a defense-first player, making his transition into a runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award a feat to behold.
This marks five consecutive seasons in which the Milwaukee Bucks had at least two players make an All-Defensive team. Additionally, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 60 votes — the most of any player who did not finish on the list.
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