Brook Lopez is officially the betting favorite for Defensive Player of the Year

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Brook Lopez has been a strong interior defender for the Bucks for several seasons and the Vegas sportsbooks are finally taking notice.

Brook Lopez isn’t your typical dominant defender. He’s not fast or bouncy. He’s not known for highlight block and he doesn’t carry a particularly intimidating reputation. For most of his career, he was known for being a good post scorer and a bad rebounder for his size. But now, at 34 years old, he had become one of the league’s best defensive players.

Per Vegas Insider, Lopez now has the best odds of winning Defensive Player of the Year at every sportsbook providing odds. His current odds are better than other notable defenders like Joel Embiid and OG Anunoby, as well as previous DPOY winners like Rudy Gobert and Draymond Green.

What makes Brook Lopez such an effective defender?

The Bucks are leading the NBA in defensive efficiency at just 106.5 points per 100 possessions but that number drops to 105.7 points per 100 possessions when Lopez is on the floor. What Lopez lacks in footspeed and vertical pop, he more than makes up for with length and savvy positioning. He’s averaging 3.4 blocks per game and alters countless others.

Lopez has been particularly effective this season at blocking shots further away from the basket. He’s already logged 25 blocks this season on shots between four and 14 feet from the basket, no one else in the league has more than eight. He spends a lot of time in drop coverage but has become adept at chewing up the space the Bucks’ defense appears to be ceding teams in the mid-range.

Lopez isn’t the only exceptional defender on this Bucks roster this season but he’s playing better than he ever has at that end of the floor and the league is taking notice.

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