The Best NBA DPOY Odds Belong to the Brow
While the modern-day NBA is geared more towards scoring, the championship-caliber teams cannot attain true success if they aren’t able to make stops at key moments. Having said that, defense doesn’t always get as much airtime as three-point shooting and individual 50-point games. However, excelling at the defensive end is no easy feat and that part of the game warrants some airtime as well.
The three players who came into the season as the favorites to win the Defensive Player of the Year award included the reigning two-time winner Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. Through the first quarter of the season, this trio has been head and shoulders above the rest of the league. So, without further delay, here’s an updated look at where these players stand on the list based on how they performed over the past week (Dec. 16 through Dec. 22).
Defensive Player Of The Year Odds
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The Third-Best DPOY Odds: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+500 – No Change from Last Week)
On the heels of winning the MVP award last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to show why he’s one of, if not the, best player in the league today. Over the past week, the Milwaukee Bucks posted a 3-1 record and Giannis had a lot to do with their success. During that stretch, he compiled averages of 30.5 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per contest. He shot 58.4 percent overall and an impressive 42.9 percent from 3-point-range, knocking down nine of his 21 attempts.
From a defensive standpoint, Antetokounmpo had more of an impact than he’s had over the past couple of weeks, as he averaged 1.5 steals and one block per contest. Again though, while his offensive skills continue to increase, seemingly without bound, the sixth-year forward finds himself on the outside looking in with regards to being the league’s top defensive player and that trend may continue throughout the rest of the season.
The Second Best DPOY Odds: Rudy Gobert (+300 – No Change from Last Week)
Rudy Gobert, who has won the DPOY award in each of the previous two seasons, checks in on the list at the No. 2 spot. Rudy Gobert helped guide the Utah Jazz to a perfect 3-0 record. During that stretch, the big man averaged 16.3 points and a more than respectable 17 boards per contest on 60.7 percent shooting from the floor.
After registering zero rejections in Utah’s 109-102 win over the Orlando Magic on Dec. 17, Gobert recorded three blocks in wins against the Atlanta Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets, giving an average of two blocks per contest over that three-game slate. Gobert has his work cut out for him if he hopes to catch AD for the top spot in this race, and unless he can regain the form that he was playing at when the season began, his reign of being the league’s top defensive player could come to an end.
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The Best DPOY Odds: Anthony Davis (-177 – No Change from Last Week)
Like his competition, Anthony Davis’ odds didn’t move from where they were last week, but that didn’t keep him from retaining the No. 1 spot on the list. While the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have a ton of success over the past week – losing all three of their games – Davis certainly did his part in two of those games.
1Following a 36-point, 10-rebound performance against the Milwaukee Bucks, AD put together a 32-point, 11-rebound effort against the Denver Nuggets, giving him averages of 34 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest in those two outings. Davis also blocked seven shots, which means he had one more block than Gobert despite playing one less game during that stretch. While the DPOY award has been given to centers in 23 of the past 28 seasons, Davis has positioned himself to break that trend should he continue to excel at that end of the floor.