Who will be named this season's Defensive Player of the Year?
Ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season, our NBA.com Staff reveals their picks for the end-of-season award.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): I know this is a regular season award, but it's hard for me to believe that Anthony Davis doesn't have a leg up on the competition after what he did in last season's playoffs. While Davis was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year last season, he proved to be perhaps the most valuable defender in the league in the Lakers' title run, proving to be the rare player who is as destructive on-ball as he is off-ball.
My only concern is that Davis and the Lakers will coast through the regular season given the short break between the 2020 NBA Finals and the start of the 2020-21 season. But if he's getting consistent minutes and the Lakers pick up from where they left off, he seems like a safe bet to win this award.
Other players who deserve mention: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marcus Smart, Rudy Gobert, Ben Simmons and Bam Adebayo.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm with Scott here, I think Anthony Davis will take home Defensive Player of the Year.
He was a finalist for the award last season and was the anchor of the Lakers' championship-winning defence. With Los Angeles reloading this offseason, it'll be just as good (if not better) than it was last year, and Davis will be at the forefront of that success. Like we saw with Giannis Antetokounmpo last season, if you're playing MVP-calibre basketball on both ends of the floor for an elite defensive team that holds one of the best records in the league, you'll have an advantage over other players competing for awards.
I think the same will go for Davis this season, who should be in MVP and DPOY conversations. To take things a step further, I think he will join Antetokounmpo and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to claim both awards in the same season.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Davis is quite rightly the front-runner for the award, but I'm rolling with Ben Simmons
The last guard to win Defensive Player of the Year was Gary Payton in 1995-96, but the Philadelphia 76ers point guard showed last season why he is regarded as one of the best defenders, not only at his position but in the league.
Simmons finished fourth in DPOY voting in 2019-20 and was named to the All-Defensive First Team. In an ever-increasingly positionless NBA, Simmons is the most versatile defender in the league, routinely guarding point guards through to centres with similar levels of success, and is often tasked with defending the opposition's best wing player.
A lot will hinge on the 76ers success this season, but with Doc Rivers on board, alongside a refreshed supporting cast, Philly looks primed for a big season in the East and Simmons' defence will be a big reason why.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): I got to agree with my colleagues here, it's Anthony Davis' award to lose. But if he does slip-up, my pick to win would be Bam Adebayo.
He finished fifth in the DPOY voting last season and was even named to the All-Defensive First Team. In the current positionless era of the NBA, his versatility and ability to guard nearly every position on the floor combined with his high basketball IQ is why I believe Adebayo could win this award.
The Heat are a system-based team, whose defence thrives on communication and relentless help defence. His performance in the 2020 postseason has shown that he can thrive in the backline of the team's defence and be a strong anchor.
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