The Defensive Player of the Year is an annual award handed out by the NBA at the league’s Annual Award Show. The award is given to the player who is the best defensive player in the league during the regular season.

The winner is chosen by a panel of 124 sportswriters and broadcasters from the United States and Canada. Each panelist casts votes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Every first-place vote is worth five points, a second-place vote three points and a third-place vote worth one point. The player who has the highest number of votes, regardless of the number of first-place votes, is declared the winner.

Since its inception during the 1982-83 season, a total of 21 players have won the award. Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo have won the award four times each, the most for any player. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard holds the record for most consecutive DPOY awards won at three. Sidney Moncrief, Mark Eaton, Dennis Rodman, Hakeem Olajuwon, Alonzo Mourning, Kawhi Leonard, and Rudy Gobert have won the award twice. Gobert has won the award in the last two seasons and he is also the current NBA betting favorite to win the award again this coming season.

Here are the odds to win the 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award:

Player Odds
Rudy Gobert +140
Anthony Davis +400
Giannis Antetokounmpo +600
Paul George +700
Joel Embiid +800
Kawhi Leonard +800
Draymond Green +1200
Myles Turner +1400
Clint Capela +3300
Al Horford +3300

Although five out of the first six winners of the award were from the guard position, this award has been dominated by big men. The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year has been awarded to a center in 25 out of 37 seasons. In six instances, the award was given to forwards and guards won it six times overall too. Gary Payton is the only point guard to win the award.

Since 1997, only Ron Artest, Kawhi Leonard (twice) and Draymond Green are the non-centers to have won the award. That said, the probabilities are thus higher for Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Myles Turner, Clint Capela, and Al Horford to win the award. Among that group though, the only players to win the award are Rudy Gobert.

Basketball Who Are the Favorites?

When I take a look at Anthony Davis, I don’t think he will be as defensively dominant this year with the presence of two other prominent seven-footers in his team. The presence of Javale McGee and Dwight Howard (a former DPOY winner) will enable Davis to focus more on offense, where he is expected to be the Lakers’ main man this season. LeBron James is expected to let Davis run the show so that he (James) can preserve his 17-year NBA body for a postseason run.

Myles Turner led the NBA in blocks last season but he was only 42nd in rebounding. Although Turner could always improve his rebounding numbers, he has never been a dominant rebounder in his NBA career. The NBA DPOY winner has been traditionally given to a big man who dominates in both rebounding and shot-blocking.

As for Clint Capela, he was Top 5 in rebounding and was 11th in blocks last season. However, with the arrival of Russell Westbrook who is conscious about his statistical production, I expect Capela’s rebounding numbers to be affected ( even just a little bit ) just as James Harden’s scoring could take a hit with Russ’ presence.

I think that Giannis Antetokounmpo will dominate the stats in Milwaukee again but with the Bucks more focused on a run to the NBA Finals, I think Giannis has other ( bigger ) things in mind next season. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are on the same team so I’m not sure how one delivers a dominant single defensive effort in L.A. I think the Clippers will be a terrific defensive team but because of the team effort.

Basketball Who Wins?

I like Joel Embiid to be by dark horse pick because we saw on TV how he was disappointed about losing to the Bucks in the playoffs. Embiid was a force on both ends of the floor last season and given his motives this year, he can be a factor in this award if he stays healthy. That said, I think the NBA betting favorite here is the best bet as well.

The only thing going against Rudy Gobert is that only Dwight Howard has won the award in three consecutive seasons and that was from 2008-2011. However, if we take that away, all signs point to Gobert dominating the defensive side of the court again this season. Gobert is only 27 years of age and after being snubbed in the 2019 All-Star weekend, he has plenty to prove this season.

The Stifle Tower averaged a career-high 12.9 rebounds per game last season and he also averaged 2.7 blocks per game during the second half of the season. If he stays healthy, there is no doubt that Rudy Gobert is still the most dominant player on defense in the NBA.

Prediction: Rudy Gobert

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