NBA Basketball Betting: 2021 Defensive Player of the Year Odds
The NBA season is starting in just three weeks, with a very short offseason leading into a 2021 journey which will end just before the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. The season has been reduced from 82 games to 72 games, so there will be 10 fewer chances for every player to make his case for various NBA awards. When we consider who might win NBA Defensive Player of the Year this upcoming season, we have to account for the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2021 NBA campaign.
The Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA Finals on October 11, meaning that they will report to training camp in early December less than two months after the Finals ended. Keeping in mind that these NBA awards are based on regular season performance and not playoff results, we could see a situation in which Anthony Davis’s defensive numbers and overall statistics are not that impressive in the regular season, but he then turns on the jets and thrives in the playoffs. The Lakers and the Miami Heat, the two teams which played in the NBA Finals, are going to have the roughest time of all NBA teams adjusting to this short offseason. Their coaches are going to play backups a lot in the first two months of the season, in order to allow the top players to stay fresh and get healthy for the latter part of the regular season and then the playoffs. Based on this reality, it’s hard to think Anthony Davis is a DPOY favorite for the 2021 season. Had the season started in late January, there might have been a much better chance for him to win this.
The Milwaukee Bucks, by getting eliminated from the NBA Playoffs in the second round in early September, gave Giannis Antetokounmpo a better chance to win NBA hardware this season. Giannis won’t be dealing with the really short offseason faced by the Lakers and Heat. Plus, he and the Bucks are going to be extremely motivated to prove everyone wrong after Milwaukee’s humiliating exit at the hands of the Heat in the postseason. This motivational element, combined with aggressive roster moves made by the Bucks’ front office in this shortened offseason, gives NBA observers good reason to think that Giannis is the NBA DPOY favorite right now.
The Rudy Gobert situation with the Utah Jazz is a fascinating one. Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 back in March and in many ways was the signal to the world that the coronavirus needed to be taken very seriously in professional sports. The Jazz failed to get out of the first round against the Denver Nuggets, and in a new season, Utah might be wondering how it takes the next step forward in a loaded Western Conference. Gobert is still an elite defensive player, but how well he works with his Jazz teammates is a real question mark this coming season.
The Los Angeles Clippers failed on a massive scale last season. They were the Western Conference version of what the Milwaukee Bucks were in the East. They had title expectations yet lost in the second round. The Clippers made huge changes to their roster in the offseason. The jury is out on whether this roster will work better than last season’s roster. New coach Ty Lue will try to make the pieces fit; former coach Doc Rivers failed in that attempt. If the pieces do fit, however, Leonard could find himself in a much better position to gain NBA DPOY honors.