2017 PBT Awards: Defensive Player of the Year

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
7 Comments

Kurt Helin

1. Rudy Gobert

2. Draymond Green

3. Kawhi Leonard

It was very difficult to choose between Gobert and Green — both are phenomenal defenders, and both teams ask a lot of their players in anchoring their defensive styles and systems. Green was a clear second for me until Kevin Durant went down injured, then when asked to step up Green did and kept the Warriors’ defense strong. I went back and watched a lot of video on these guys, and I went with Gobert just because of how much Utah asks of him in pick-and-roll situations and how no big man I can recall covered the ball handler and roller as well. But it was close.

Note: Helin has an official ballot this year.

Dan Feldman

1. Draymond Green, Warriors

2. Rudy Gobert, Jazz

3. Kawhi Leonard, Spurs

I ever-so-slightly leaned toward Rudy Gobert (who erases the paint – the most important area of the court defensively – and holds his own on the perimeter) over Draymond Green (the NBA’s most versatile defender) most of the season, but Green’s finishing kick was so strong. He gunned for this award from the beginning of the season – and earned it.

Dane Carbaugh

1. Rudy Gobert, Jazz

2. Draymond Green, Warriors

3. Kawhi Leonard, Spurs

This is a tough one to decide. You’ve got three players from the Top 3 defensive teams in the league. They impact the game in different ways. One is the leader in defensive win shares, another is the leader in defensive box plus/minus. The last guy is so good teams literally plan to play 4-on-5 on offense so he can’t negatively effect them. But Gobert has had an outstanding season, and I think there’s room to consider his value to his team’s defensive performance overall.