• OTG Staff

Roundtable: Defensive Player of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year, the guy who no player wants to see matched up across from them. The guy every coach knows is going to cause issues and disrupt the flow of an offense. This aside from Most Valuable Player is by far one of the best awards given out. In a league full of offense we sometimes take for granted or forget the ones who make scoring just a little tougher. It's time to decide who is the Defensive Player of the Year!

Evan Dyal - @EvanDyal

Defensive Player of the Year, Al Horford

Give me Al Horford! Horford has been excellent on both ends this year for the Celtics. His defensive versatility is impressive as he can hang with guards on switches and uses positioning beautifully to deal with the big guys down low. Horford is fourth in defensive win shares added among players who played at least 41 games, and the drop off is significant when he is not on the court for the Celtics. His defensive rating of 100.7 for the season is ridiculous. In terms of power forwards, Horford only ranks behind Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, and Luc Richard Mbah Moute in defensive RPM.

He doesn't get a lot of steals and block, but he always knows where to be and always makes the right decision. Like Gobert, his rebounding is his most significant defensive weakness. Only his teammate Aron Baynes allowed a lower point per possession among all power forwards/centers. Baynes, by the way, plays too few minutes for this award, same with David West. Horford is the anchor of his team's defense, he is versatile, and there is a significant drop off when he is not out there. He has also played in 67 games this season.

Mike Ryan - @Mikey_ryan11

Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert is tied for second among block leaders with 2.4 blocks per game. However, in just 53 games it’s hard to ignore the impact he’s had on the court. The Jazz are 34-18 with their anchor in the middle (11-15 with him on the bench) and Gobert’s rim protection is the reason why the team is in thick of the playoff race. Opponents are shooting less than 60% from less than 5 feet away from the rim when Gobert is on the court. Since his latest return from injury, the Jazz are only giving 96.8 points per game per 100 possessions. During the games he was out? The team was giving up 107.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s right around league average but with Gobert on the court, the team turns into a top defensive team in the association. Despite, the total games played, Gobert has my vote for DPOY.

Michael Sanchez - @Imlaotino

Defensive Player of the Year – Rudy Gobert

I’ve gone back and forth between Gobert and Embiid so many times that I might change my pick by the end of this paragraph. Ultimately, the only thing that was holding me back from picking Gobert was the fact that he’s missed almost a third of his games. His impact has been so great that though that I’m willing to overlook it. Consider the stats: Utah is 7.4 points worse per 100 possesions when Gobert isn’t on the floor compared to Embiid’s 6.5. Since Jan. 24, Utah’s defensive rating is 96.2 points, 6.1 points better per 100 possessions than the next best team in that span. Teams have to game plan for him just like they would any elite scorer. If that’s not enough for you, consider this. His nickname is “The Stifle Tower”. What other player in the league has a defensive-based nickname? I rest my case.

Kory Waldron - @Kwalhoops

Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert

Let’s face the truth, Rudy Gobert is the best rim protector currently in the NBA. I’ll even take it as far as the best defensive center, period. The Utah Jazz without Rudy Gobert were a below .500 team, out of the playoff picture on the cusp of tank mode. Now? They’re a playoff team that may see homecourt in the first round. The frenchman is why, Rudy Gobert leads the NBA in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. The Utah Jazz Defensive Rating with Gobert OFF the floor is 105.4, with Gobert ON it’s 97.9, that’s the best defensive rating among all players and teams! Before Gobert returned from injury the Jazz were being held afloat by rookie Donovan Mitchell, as soon as Gobert returned. Utah absolutely took off and they’ve been arguably the hottest team in the NBA and might be, the most feared defensive unit in the NBA. Rudy Gobert is bringing more shine to Utah because of his defense.

Jonathan Ebrahimi - @Awrashoo

Defensive Player of the Year, Anthony Davis

This is a tough decision because both Rudy Gobert and Paul George have been outstanding on the defensive end this season. With that being said, Anthony Davis would be my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. With the load that he is asked to carry offensively, the fact that he still registered 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game is mind blowing, and the impact he makes defensively is staggering. Davis is one of only a few players in the league that can protect the rim and step out and defend a guard, and he does both at an elite level. Just look at how Davis’ defensive stats compare against other leading candidates:

Dominic Roney - @DomRoney

Defensive Player of the Year, Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis is such a polarizing All-Star in today’s game, and with so many amazing performances on offense, his defensive prowess can be over looked. “The Brow” is currently leading the NBA with 2.5 blocks per game. With the playoffs fast approaching, Davis has recorded 174 blocks on the season. Davis becomes a serious threat in the post for those trying to score the easy layup, time and time again they learn the hard way. Anthony Davis is currently sitting at 5th place in the rebounds category, with an average of 16 boards a game. To serve as icing on the cake, Davis averages nearly 1.5 steals a game which is enough to put him in the top 20 in that category. As the regular season comes to a close, most fans of this sensational big man are pushing for his MVP campaign, but many don’t realize the legitimacy of Anthony Davis

as 2018 Defensive Player of the Year.

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