According to betting site BetOnline.ag, Bucks center Brook Lopez and Grizzlies forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. are in a two-man race for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Interestingly, when I considered doing a Community Shootaround on this topic a few weeks ago, Jackson was a pretty strong favorite with Lopez the runner-up, but those odds have flipped — Lopez is currently the leading candidate at minus-225, followed by Jackson at plus-175. The only other two players listed are Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo (plus-2500) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (plus-3300), but they’re considered long shots with the regular season nearing its conclusion.
Both Lopez and Jackson have compelling cases. Lopez anchors the NBA’s top defense, which is the primary reason the Bucks have the best record in the league. With Lopez on the court, the Bucks have a 106.3 defensive rating, and they’re 4.1 points per 100 possessions worse defensively when he’s not playing.
It’s been a remarkable year for the 34-year-old, who is averaging a career-high 2.5 blocks per game (second in the league) and has only missed two games. According to NBA.com‘s data, he has contested more shots than any player in the league by a significant margin, with opponents shooting 4.5% worse than expected on those attempts. Among players who have contested at least five shots per game at the rim, opponents are shooting just 50% against Lopez, which ranks second in the league, per NBA.com.
Jackson has played 15 fewer games than Lopez following offseason foot surgery, and has played fewer minutes in those games (28.1 MPG compared to 30.6 for Lopez). Barring injury, there’s no way for him to make up ground in those areas. He has only contested 13.8 shots per game versus Lopez’s 22.9.
That said, there’s a strong argument to be made that Jackson has been more impactful in the time he has been on the court, even if he’s played nearly 600 fewer minutes to this point. The Grizzlies hold the league’s third-best defense. With Jackson on the court, the Grizzlies have a 105.7 defensive rating, and they’re 5.7 points worse defensively when he’s off the court.
Lopez ranks second in blocks per game because he trails Jackson, who is averaging 3.0 while leading the league in block percentage. He’s also averaging 1.0 steal compared to 0.5 for Lopez, so Jackson easily clears in steals plus blocks (4.0 vs 3.0).
Opponents are shooting 4.7% worse than expected with Jackson as the nearest defender, and they are only shooting 46.4% at the rim against him — that’s the best mark for a full-time player since 2013/14, according to NBA.com.
We want to know what you think. Who should win the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022/23? Head to the comments to weigh in with your thoughts!
10 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Defensive Player Of The Year”
Jackson is a great 2way player. This solidifies that. Brook is a heady player. Doesn’t get enough credit for that. Came into league as a scoring center. Has turned into a decent shooter. Now DPOY, man. He deserves a lot of credit.
This is defensive POY not player most likely to foul out or get ejected after getting cooked by mid
JJJ would be my choice because of his versatility. He can dominate defensively inside (as a rim and paint protector) and on the perimeter (covering the best 4’s and combos in the league). AD, when he played more, was that type of player. Giannis is as well. Not many others; now or ever. Even with the current glut of big men, 2 position, 2 way guys are rare, and as valuable as ever.
JJJ’s stats are inflated by biased home blocked shot statistics. Check it out.
DPOY s/b Draymond Green!
Must be Embiid!
Jackson is the DPOY. He is the best player on the Grizzlies. His rim protection keep other teams offense down.
Man I think Bridges at least should be in the convo, dudes a rock
I really want to say it’s Brook Lopez because 2 reasons, 1 I hate the Grizzlies and 2 I love Brook.
But it’s simply JJJ.
The fact Giannis is third in voting should be obvious that Brook although insane this year has had good defenders around him. There’s Giannas, Jrue Holiday, Kris Middleton when he’s heathy, Bobby Portis off the bench, now Jae Crowder. The bucks are the best defensive teams cause they have a bunch of great defenders and Brook just leads them at that end. Yes take him away and they aren’t as good but that’s a poor argument. Take Steph away from GSW do they shoot aswell no, doesn’t make them a bad shooting team with bad shooters.
The grizzlies have decent defenders but not of the same ilk. Dillon Brooks has his moments but he ain’t Jrue Holiday let alone Kris Middleton. Tyus Jones he’s nice, Steven Adams he’s nice but they ain’t Ginnas level.
Secondly it’s about watching the game and watching who they cover. JJJ is the best shot blocker in the league but can also step out to the perimeter and stay in front of other forwards and guards. Brook Lopez isn’t doing that to the same level. The fact JJJ defends the rim as good as Broom while also covering smaller guys better makes him the better defender.
If Memphis weren’t so obnoxious and dislikable then I think he’d be running away with it. Brook in the other hand is one of the most likeable guys in the league. Having completely changed his game, preforming at his best at 36, great team mate, funny etc. Even tho GSW were so heavily disliked during there dynasty run personnel wise there were one of the most likeable teams in the league. Curry appeals to the kids and families, Klay is hilarious in his unique way, Draymond appeals to the old heads. Then you have vet role players like Livingston and Iggy, some international love with ZaZa and Bogut.
Memphis are the complete opposite and no one likes them and none of there players besides Steven Adams is really that liked among fans.
The only reason this is close is cause Memphis are so disliked.