Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo was named MVP. Last week, he was named Defensive Player of the Year.
The Bucks superstar’s peers would like to see him live up to the honors.
Multiple NBA players seem dumbfounded that Antetokounmpo didn’t volunteer to guard Heat star Jimmy Butler in Miami’s 115-104 second-round opening win, during which Butler scored 40 points.
“No, I didn’t [ask],” Antetokounmpo said after the loss. “Why would you ask that? I’ll do whatever coach wants me to do.”
Coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t make the request of his best player, but former All-Star Isaiah Thomas said that shouldn’t have prevented Antetokounmpo from seeking the most important defensive assignment. Another All-Star player told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that the reigning MVP shouldn’t be considered a lockdown defender because he doesn’t shut down other stars.
“As a competitor and DPOY that’s your job to take that assignment,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “I know Marcus smart, Avery Bradley, Kawhi [Leonard] woulda been like (get out of here) I’m guarding him.”
Antetokounmpo also was underwhelming offensively, scoring a playoff-low 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, along with 10 rebounds and nine assists.
The top-seeded Bucks will attempt to even their NBA playoff series on Wednesday.