- BetOnline has Giannis Antetokounmpo (+100) and Anthony Davis (+100) as co-favorites to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award
- Giannis leads the league with 4.8 Defensive Win Shares and the Bucks’ 101.0 defensive rating is tops in the NBA
- Davis’ 2.5 blocks per game has helped transform the Lakers into the best defensive team in the Western Conference
Defensive Player of the Year is one of those awards that tend to have repeat winners. Once you gain a reputation for being a suffocating defender in the NBA, you can expect to collect two or three trophies at least.
Reigning DPOY Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard, Alonzo Mourning, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dennis Rodman and Sidney Moncrief all have two trophies, Dwight Howard has three, and big Ben Wallace and finger-waving Dikembe Mutombo both claimed the award four times.
The latest odds at BetOnline seem to suggest that voters will welcome some fresh blood to the DPOY club, but historical trends suggest that whoever wins will win again.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR ODDS
Co-favored with Anthony Davis at +100, the Greek Freak almost won Defensive Player of the Year last season, finishing second in the voting to Gobert.
Giannis is once again anchoring the NBA’s best defense — Milwaukee’s 101.0 defensive rating ranks first — and his league-leading 4.8 Defensive Win Shares puts him ahead of Davis (3.9) and Gobert (3.8).
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 2, 2020
In other words, advanced analytics show that Antetokounmpo should win the award. However, the sportswriters who vote on DPOY may be swayed by a couple of factors outside Giannis’ control.
One, the 6-foot-11 basketball god will almost certainly win his second-consecutive NBA MVP, and history shows that voters like to share the wealth. Only Jordan and Olajuwon have won MVP and DPOY in the same year.
Secondly, AD also has a solid case to win the award.
Like Shawshank‘s Andy Dufresne, Anthony Davis had to crawl through a river of shit before coming out clean on the other side.
The Brow’s reputation was bruised and battered while trying to extricate himself from New Orleans last season — and that might hurt him with voters this year — but now he’s in sunny Los Angeles on one of the top championship contenders. I would say it was worth it.
Initial ball pressure. Contain the pick-and-roll. Break up the lob. More pressure. Steal.
It's a joy to watch Anthony Davis play defense. pic.twitter.com/lZLac4hSC9
— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) March 4, 2020
The 6-foot-10 forward’s 2.5 blocks per game is tied with Brook Lopez for second in the league and his 1.5 steals puts him firmly inside the top 15. A better measure, however, might be his impact on his team’s defense.
After a miserable 2018/19, the Purple & Gold are third in the NBA (and tops in the West) with a 105.8 defensive rating. AD’s presence in the paint and ability to get back in transition has taken the load off LeBron and transformed a soft Lakers team into a scrappy, championship-caliber defensive squad.
Voters will award Giannis with the MVP to recognize the Bucks’ historic year, but Davis also deserves credit for the Lakers’ successful turnaround.
Place your bets on The Brow.