Top Four NBA Defensive Player Of The Year Candidates
As we approach the All-Star break, the race for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award is starting to ramp up. While there are a few returning players on this candidate list, there also happen to be some new faces who might be good value bets. Let’s take a look at the top four candidates for the award.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert finds himself on one of the best teams in the NBA right now, the 24-6 Utah Jazz. This team has relied upon their chemistry and fearlessness to get them wins, rallying behind the defensive Stallworth that is Gobert. He averages 13.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while leading the team in each of those categories. But his stats don’t show his immense impact on the Jazz. He moves his feet pretty well for a man of his size and build and that has allowed him to guard multiple positions and take on switches in the pick and roll. Gobert is also a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and his impact on a Jazz team that is currently second in the league could easily be enough to win him another award.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Myles Turner has always been a solid rim protector, but he has taken his game to another level this season for the Indiana Pacers. He averages 3.5 blocks, 1.1 steals and 5.3 defensive rebounds per game, leading the team in blocks per game. His impact on the defensive end has allowed other notable players on the team to focus on the offensive end, with Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis each having fantastic scoring seasons. It wouldn’t be possible without the spark and energy that Turner brings on the other end, relentlessly knocking shots away and deterring opponents from driving to the cup.
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
If not for a recent calf injury that will sideline him for the next few weeks, Anthony Davis could be higher up on this list. He is the Los Angeles Lakers second best player on the team outside of LeBron James and has provided outstanding rim protection. Despite his size, Davis has the capability of guarding any position on the floor which many teams are looking for nowadays. His stats back up his defensive impact as well, averaging 6.3 defensive rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, leading his team in each of those categories.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons finds himself to be a sleeper pick for the award but has been excellent on the defensive end this year. He leads the Philadelphia 76ers in steals per game with 1.7 and has provided great perimeter defense. Not only that, but he can guard every position on the court due to his size and strength. While the past few winners of this award have been big men, Simmons has the chance to slip through and pick up the award if he is able to continue his defensive impact.