NBA Awards season has arrived and the Bucks were well represented after their 42-40 campaign.
Malcolm Brogdon was named Rookie of the Year after his productive first season. With number one pick Ben Simmons sidelined, the rookie class was underwhelming and the 36th pick took advantage. Brogdon, year-three rookie Joel Embiid, and (yet another 76er) Dario Saric were the few exceptional rookies in the NBA this year.
Brogdon’s production (10.2 PPG and 4.2 APG) to a team fighting for the playoffs led him past Embiid and Saric. Embiid showed he is a burgeoning superstar, but he only played in 31 games this season. Saric is undoubtedly talented but he racked up stats on one of the worst teams in the league without having to share the ball with Embiid or Simmons.
In addition to winning ROY, the Rookie of the Year was also named to All-Rookie First Team. Embiid, Saric, Buddy Hield, and Willy Hernangomez were the other first-year players selected. Brogdon was a unanimous selection to the team.
Brogdon had many memorable moments including a triple-double in his second start against the Bulls and his game-winning shot against the Celtics. “The President” was one of the most consistent players on Milwaukee’s squad this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s breakout season was also noticed by the voters. Antetokounmpo won Most Improved Player and was named to the All-Defensive Second Team.
The Greek Freak improved in the following categories from last season: points, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals, three-point percentage, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. So, basically everything.
Giannis edged out the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic for MIP. Jokic surprisingly exploded for Denver, but his jump wasn’t quite the leap of Antetokounmpo’s.
Giannis was sixth in the NBA in blocks and 11th steals. He ranked first in combined blocks and steals, showing how important he is protecting the rim while also having a major impact on the perimeter. So much of what the Bucks do is about versatility, and there is no better example of that than their superstar.