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Defensive Player of the Year
- Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors – Andrew Bogut may be the best defensive player in the league when he plays, but Draymond Green is the centerpiece of Golden State’s terrific defensive performance this season. The versatile forward was able to lead the Warriors to a nearly identical defensive rating with Bogut on the sideline earlier in the year, and when Green comes off the floor, Golden State is flatly average defensively. He can guard every position on the floor (without exaggeration), and if you throw in the advanced numbers that place him at the top of virtually every list, it isn’t difficult to anoint Green based on both individual and team accomplishment.
- Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs – Leonard is making a later push toward DPOY consideration, and in plain terms, he has been a monster for the better part of two months. The rangy forward now leads the NBA in steals (2.2 per game), but his defense is predicated on much more than that, as he combines relentless ball pressure with strong positioning and impossible length. The Spurs are nearly 6 points per 100 possessions better on defense alone when he plays, and Leonard is looking like the player who notched NBA Finals MVP just months ago.
- Tony Allen – When Tony Allen is on the court, Memphis is basically the best defensive team in the league. When he isn’t, the Grizzlies are basically the worst defensive team in the league. Any questions? Allen is considered by many as the best on-ball defender in the league, and he shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 33. “The Grindfather” draws the most difficult perimeter assignment on a nightly basis, and he never fails to deliver defensively.
Next: Rookie of the Year