PBT Awards: Defensive Player of the Year

16 Comments

Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

1. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

2. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

3. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

If Kawhi Leonard had been healthy all season this award would have been his. That said, do not discount what Draymond Green does — the Warriors had the best defense in the NBA and did it with a system that switches everything. That only works because of Green’s versatility. He can guard spots 1-4, even some centers, which allows the entire Warriors scheme to function smoothly.

Very hard to leave Andrew Bogut off this list, he could be in the three spot easily.

Brett Pollakoff

1. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

2. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

3. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Much like the MVP award, this one comes down to how you want to define it. Leonard is the game’s best individual defender at the moment, so you could easily justify giving him this vote. But Green’s impact has been huge, and the Warriors will finish the season ranked No. 1 in defensive efficiency.

Sean Highkin

1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

2. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

3. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

When Leonard got healthy, the Spurs started to look like the Spurs again, and that’s scary for everybody. Green has been the most important part of the Warriors’ success outside of Stephen Curry, and that’s in large part because of his defensive impact. He can guard all five positions and keeps their defense suffocating even when Andrew Bogut is off the floor. Duncan needs no explanation — at 38, he’s still as effective on the defensive end as he’s ever been.

Dan Feldman

1. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

2. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

3. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Green deserves this award this year, but I don’t think he’s the NBA’s best defender. That’d be Gobert, Leonard or Andrew Bogut. But none of those three — Gobert due to coming off the bench, Leonard and Bogut due to injury — played nearly as much as Green, and that meant Green impacted far more defensive possessions. He should be rewarded for that.

Leonard emerged as clear favorite for next year, though.