top of page
  • OTG Staff

Roundtable: 2018-2019 Defensive Player of the Year

All year we’ve watched the best of the best play this wonderful game of basketball. The season has concluded and the OTG Staff is making their award selections. Defensive Player of the Year is full of many worthy candidates, making this one of the tougher races.

Jeremy Freed - @JeremyFreed3

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Via Complex

Defensive Player of the Year is as close a race as I think we have this year, but I like Giannis to take home the hardware. It’s a razor-thin win over Rudy Gobert, but the data bear it out. Giannis leads him in Defensive Rating and Defensive Win Shares -- barely, but both metrics point to Giannis. Milwaukee leads the league in Unadjusted Defensive Rating, while Utah leads in the Adjusted category, but that doesn’t tip the scales back far enough back towards the frenchman. Gobert was very deserving of DPOY last year, and getting it again this year would certainly make him feel better after being snubbed for the All-Star game, but whereas Giannis took his defensive game up a level, and has been his best defensive self this year, Gobert made his gains on the offensive end, and isn’t quite the defender he was a year ago. Giannis is the pick, and I think this won’t be the only trophy he’ll have to make room for on his shelves when all is said and done.

Ryan Wheeler - @Mrwheeler18

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Via USA Today

I tried to talk myself into someone else like Rudy Gobert, Joel Embiid, Myles Turner, or Paul George but there is no scenario where Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t win Defensive Player of the Year. Looking at the NBA statistics leader board, it is illuminatingly clear that Giannis was the most transformative defensive player this season. He is #1 in defensive rating & defensive win/shares while being second in box score plus/minus. He is not in the top 20 for steals but is 7th for defensive rebounding percentage and 13th in blocks per game. He passes the eyeball test as well by using his alien appendages and preternatural athleticism to shut down the opposing team virtually by himself. He corrals point guards, shuts down driving lanes and rips down over 10 defensive rebounds per game. He might not win the MVP this season but is hand-down (“man-down”) the DPOY.

Nik Cuvalo - @NiiKCuvs

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Via Sports Illustrated

My pick here is Giannis. He leads the league in defensive win shares (0.178) and defensive rating (100.5), has a block percentage of 31.9% (much higher than PG13, but less than Embiid and Gobert), and a steal percentage of 24.5% (slightly less than PG13 and nearly double Embiid and Gobert). He strikes the sweet spot in most advanced metrics and is generally rewarded for being able to toggle between the defensive responsibilities of a primary stopper, a backcourt defender, and a central paint anchor with aplomb. Should Giannis lose out on the MVP award to Harden, it makes all too much sense to reward him with DPOY as his consolation prize for an incredible season on the unglamorous end of the court. He should have a solid shot of bringing home both trophies, however; he could be the third NBA player in history (along with MJ and Hakeem) to win both MVP and DPOY in the same season. Kyle Russell - @kbrheatnation

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Via USA Today

This year had several strong contenders for Defensive Player of the Year, including Rudy Gobert and Paul George. While George is an elite perimeter defender and Gobert an elite rim protector, only Giannis Antetokounmpo has the right blend of size, length, and athleticism to be elite at both. He reliably guards one through five on the floor, switching on the perimeter or providing elite help defense at the rim on drives. Averaging over one steal and block per game, Antetokounmpo disrupts his opponent’s offense regardless of where he is on the floor. The result has been a league-leading defense anchored by Antetokounmpo. While there are certainly more specialized defenders in the league, none can match Antetokounmpo’s versatility.

Cam Tabatabaie - @CTabatabaie

Defensive player of the year: Marcus Smart

Via USA Today

The last guard to win the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award was Gary Payton way back in 1996. Since then, the honor has been exclusively bestowed upon front-court players. This year could be different. Marcus Smart is having one hell of a season. His usually pugnacious defense continues to elicit oos and aws from fans in Boston. At the same time, he's improved on the offensive end, elevating his overall status around the league. He can stay in front of elite guards just as easily as he finds himself holding his own among the trees. Anchored by incredible defensive reflexes and effort, Smart is finally in a place to truly deserve a spot among the best stoppers in the league.

#nba #nbaaward #MarcusSmart #GiannisAntetokounmpo #BostonCeltics #MilwaukeeBucks

bottom of page