Memphis Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. ran away with the Defensive Player of the Year award by the end of the 2022-23 season, as he averaged 3.0 blocks per game – the second straight season where he led the NBA in blocks per game.
JJJ is the favorite once again to win the award in the 2023-24 season, but he may not be as clear cut of a choice as you’d think.
There is one massive wrinkle to the Defensive Player of the Year award this season (and every award this season): the winner must play in at least 65 games because of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
So does that change who we should bet on?
There is one defender that I’m targeting in this market, which I shared in my season preview column “Peter’s Points” earlier this month.
Let’s break down the odds and some players to watch to win the DPOY this season. Plus, there’s a great offer from FanDuel Sportsbook that you can take advantage of in this market.
New users that sign up for FanDuel with the link below and wager $5 will receive $200 in bonus bets!
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds
Jaren Jackson Jr. Defensive Player of the Year Odds
Jackson Jr. is the favorite in this market because of his ability to block shots, but he didn’t even lead the NBA in defensive win shares last season despite blocking three shots per game.
I’m extremely worried about Jackson Jr. reaching the 65-game threshold – he’s only done so once in his career – and I think that the counting stats can only hold him in this market for so long.
We saw Rudy Gobert fall out of favor with voters after he was exposed in the playoffs. Anthony Davis did some exposing of JJJ in last year’s postseason, so he’s going to need to do more than just block shots to be the DPOY in the 2023-24 season.
Evan Mobley Defensive Player of the Year Odds
Cleveland Cavaliers youngster Evan Mobley is my favorite bet to win this award, as he’s only growing as a defender in this league.
Mobley averaged 1.5 blocks per game last season and finished No. 1 in the NBA in defensive win shares.
He’s a terrific on-ball defender as well, and the Cavs may use him more at the center after signing stretch four Georges Niang this offseason. Mobley has only scratched the surface in his first two NBA seasons.
Bam Adebayo Defensive Player of the Year Odds
If you want to talk about the best and most impactful defenders, Miami’s Bam Adebayo might be No. 1 on my list.
Adebayo is an unbelievable perimeter defender for his size, and he’s able to switch onto guards which makes the Heat such a lethal defensive team.
Since coming into the league, there are several keys that show Adebayo’s value – and why he could be worth a shot for DPOY:
- Four out of six seasons with a defensive box plus/minus over 2.0
- Five of six seasons with more than 3.0 defensive win shares
- Four of six seasons with 65+ games played (one with 64)
The only drawback for Adebayo is he doesn’t put up the counting numbers in the blocks department that others will. Last season, he averaged just 0.8 blocks per game and he’s averaged over 1.0 just one time in his career.
That doesn’t tell the full story of how great he is on defense, but unfortunately, voters are going to look at that.
Anthony Davis Defensive Player of the Year Odds
There have only been two seasons where Anthony Davis has averaged fewer than two blocks per game, but he also hasn’t played more than 65 games in a season since the 2017-18 season.
So, there is a ton of risk in taking him here, but I do believe in his ability to put up the stats – and impact – to be considered for DPOY.
Brook Lopez Defensive Player of the Year Odds
Despite missing most of the 2021-22 season with an injury, Brook Lopez has been extremely durable, playing in 68 or more games in 12 of his 15 NBA seasons.
He’s the anchor of what should be a solid Bucks defense, and with Jrue Holiday gone – it may open up more chances for blocks for Lopez and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim.
Lopez averaged 2.5 blocks per game last season, and he could push JJJ for the blocks title in the 2023-24 campaign.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.