Community Shootaround: Defensive Player Of The Year

After exploring hypothetical ballots for 2019/20’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year earlier this week, we’re moving on today to a third award, Defensive Player of the Year.

Unlike the MVP or Rookie of the Year races, where one or two obvious frontrunners have emerged over the course of the season, the Defensive Player of the Year race is a little more wide open. There are certainly basic and advanced defensive statistics we can use to assess a player’s impact on that end of the court, but the eye test plays a significant role in evaluating a player’s defensive ability, so the award is more subjective.

One player most analysts agree deserves to be in consideration for this year’s Defensive Player of the Year award? Lakers big man Anthony Davis. Although teammate LeBron James looks like the stronger MVP candidate, Davis has often been the club’s last line of defense, protecting the rim and helping turn L.A. into one of the NBA’s stingiest teams — the Lakers rank third in defensive rating.

Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald and Zach Harper of The Athletic both had Davis atop their hypothetical Defensive Player of the Year ballots, while Dan Devine of The Ringer placed him second.

Devine’s top choice is Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose elite defense is a major factor in his case for a second consecutive MVP award. Devine argues that Milwaukee’s top-ranked defense is as good as it is because Antetokonmpo can “essentially erase half the floor,” roaming around the court like an NFL free safety. Among high-volume defenders, Giannis ranked first in opponents’ field goal percentage, at 36.1%. He was on Harper’s and Murphy’s ballots as well.

Ben Simmons (Sixers), Bam Adebayo (Heat), Marcus Smart (Celtics), Brook Lopez (Bucks), and P.J. Tucker (Rockets) were among the other players to earn Defensive Player of the Year consideration from at least one of Devine, Murphy, and Harper. Interestingly, none of their three ballots included reigning DPOY Rudy Gobert, though Harper did give the Jazz center an honorable mention.

What do you think? Would you pick Davis, Antetokounmpo, or someone else as this year’s Defensive Player of the Year, assuming the season is over or close to it? What would your top three look like if you were submitting an official ballot?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

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16 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Defensive Player Of The Year

  1. Chucktoad1

    1. Giannis
    2. Abedayo
    3. Davis

    While I’d hate to give him both MVP and DPOY, Giannis does deserve it as he is the defensive difference maker on the team with the best defense in the league.

    • Strike Four

      You shouldn’t hate to give those awards to the player who deserves them more than everyone else.

  2. x%sure

    Good year for that award. Gobert had even more defensive responsibility thrust at him and came through, at least until he became a punch line.
    Lopez is more quietly from the same boat.
    Stalwart Kawhi was not even mentioned… his main feature may be easing out existing stalwarts.

    Should Lebron get the nod because he may miss MVP– or is it the other way around?? “Sorry Lebron, way to quarterback the league’s best most flexible defense, but we will have give you the tied-up MVP instead.”

    Simmons the ball-scarfer has had an amazing year on that end. Smart has been tough while making 3s. Adebayo is a rising force. Nice description on Giannis. Tucker made the Rocket’s innovation possible, now a voter must forget him steadfastly just running to the corner every posession when he’s so good as a fighter inside.

  3. richt

    Giannis
    Brook Lopez
    AD

    If Lopez doesn’t get a spot on an All-Defensive Team, it’s a joke. Probably the best rim protector in the league this year (Giannis isn’t strictly a rim protector)

  4. Ken Kountz

    Wow!!! No mention of Hassan Whiteside? Leading the NBA in blocks and second in rebounding! He is Portland’s only line of defense. AD is the most overrated overhyped, overbabied player in the NBA! But all the honors have to go to big market or big endorsement players! NBA is so fake “NBA = Nothing But Acting” it is entertainment and not even worth watching anymore! LaBron = La Baby, AD = League babbied unibrow!

    • hiflew

      You start out making a very cogent argument then slowly descend into the mad ravings of a 12 year old on a sugar high.

      You can’t ask for more entertainment than that while waiting for sports to return.

    • SuperSinker

      I try to watch as much basketball as I can to get different looks, and it seems like a pretty easy choice to me.

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