The NBA season is already here and, even though it’s still pretty early, we can already tell that it’s going to be one for the ages. For the first time in years, it seems like defense is back, with the game being played at a slightly slower pace, players struggling to adapt to the new basketball, and referees swallowing their whistle more often than not.
That revamped defensive mindset may not entice younger players but old-school basketball fans are salivating. The defense seemed like a lost art but not anymore, especially thanks to those players who leave it all on that side of the hardwood.
That’s why for those who are looking to make a couple of bucks on futures, there’s plenty of value on the Defensive Player of the Year section. If you’re one of them, click here while we let you know why you should consider these 5 players as the top 5 candidates to win the award.
5. Joel Embiid (+1100)
Joel Embiid has been a perennial candidate to take home this award but constant injuries have prevented him from leading the race. He’s a disruptive force both in the paint and in the perimeter. He’s long, can switch into multiple positions, and is just a menace in the post.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ defense took a bump with Ben Simmons missing that much time but Embiid continues to be their anchor night in and night out. He’s currently averaging 1.4 blocks per game with a defensive rating of 103.
4. Bam Adebayo (+700)
Bam Adebayo continues to make great strides on both ends of the floor on a yearly basis. Besides his newfound stroke as a shooter and his impressive playmaking, his defense is the reason why coach Erik Spoelstra is willing to go to war with him.
Adebayo has often been asked to take some of the best scorers in the league, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, and has lived up to the expectations. He’s having another strong defensive season with averages of 1.0 steals per game and a defensive box plus/minus of +1.8.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+390)
Even though some people criticize Giannis Antetokounmpo for not guarding the best player on the rival team, we’re still talking about a guy who can guard one through five, excel in zone defense, and disrupt and alter every shot that comes his way.
Antetokounmpo won the award a couple of years ago and, although the Milwaukee Bucks had a strong defensive unit as a whole, he was still their driving force. He’s averaging 1.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per game this season.
2. Anthony Davis (+350)
There’s a strong chance that Anthony Davis would’ve won at least one Defensive Player of the Year award in his career if he had played for the Los Angeles Lakers and not the New Orleans Pelicans. But now that he’s finally healthy and in Hollywood, he might as well run away with it.
Davis has been the Lakers’ lone bright spot this season, especially when it comes to getting stops. He’s got a defensive rating of 104 with a defensive box plus/minus of +1.5. Also, he’s averaging 0.9 steals and 2.1 blocks per game.
1. Rudy Gobert (+330)
Unsurprisingly, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year also headlines this year’s list. Gobert is the most disruptive rim protector in the league and it’s not even close, even if he often tends to struggle when asked to guard the perimeter.
The French big man is one of the reasons why the Utah Jazz have the second-best record in the NBA. He’s averaged 1.0 steals and 1.9 blocks per game with a defensive box plus/minus of 2.0 and the team allows just 95 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor.