The Numbers: Brook Lopez, Elite Stopper
Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green are among the first that come to mind when discussing the NBA’s best defenders.
But you might want to add Brook Lopez into the mix.
The Milwaukee Bucks center primarily is known for scoring as an effective stretch-5, while his twin (Robin) is usually the one that gets the defensive props. However, Brook not only beats out his fellow Bucks bro but leads many NBA stars in key defensive categories.
Brook places fourth in Defensive Win Shares (3.9) behind Defensive Player of the Year candidates Antetokounmpo (4.8), Davis (4.1) and Gobert (4.0). He tied for third with Davis in defensive box plus/minus (2.8), trailing only Antetokoumpo (4.1) and Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn (3.1).
(For reference, his feisty and mascot-beating brother Robin posted 1.5 DWS and 0.5 DBPM.)
That’s not all. Lopez possesses stellar shot-blocking skills with 2.4 rejections per game in 26.6 minutes while accruing an eight percent blocking percentage.
Only Hassan Whiteside stuffed more shots per game (3.1) and scored a higher percentage (8.3) rates. Lopez tied Davis (2.4) and New York Knicks block specialist Mitchell Robinson (8.0) in those categories, respectively.
Lopez leads the Association in contested shots (1,183) and contested shots per game (19.4). Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has 1,018 and 16.4, respectively.
This isn’t a one-off for Lopez, either. He posted 4.3 DWS, 1.8 DBPM, 2.2 bpg and a 6.5 block percentage in 2018-19.
So it’s probably time to start including Lopez among the league’s best defensive stars, even if it initially feels strange to do so.
Chances are, the recognition will finally come anyway if he can anchor Milwaukee’s defense (with Antetokounmpo) all the way to the Bucks’ first title since 1971.
Bob Bajek is an award-winning investigative journalist and TBW staff writer who has extensive experience in news and sportswriting for various outlets including Bleacher Report, The Chicago Tribune and Pro Football Weekly. He firmly believes Drake spread the Gospel of Steph before his official coming… and fans need to forgive the Warriors after providing free tacos for four NBA Finals.