Despite missing a chunk of the season due to injury, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard has won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. He finished ahead of Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan.
Frankly, it’s nothing short of incredible that DeAndre Jordan has never won this award and this third place finish is laughable. He should probably have two of these awards now, as he’s in there solely for defensive purposes (and to catch an alley-oop or two, of course). It’s been a very long time since the best defender in the game won the award. I’d argue you have to go back to Dwight Howard in 2011. It’s no surprise that we recently seen two Defensive Players of the Year not be named to the First Team All-Defense. That’s strengthens my argument.
This is not to take anything away from Kawhi. He truly is a tremendous perimeter defender, but I’m not sure how his 18 missed games can be overlooked when DeAndre played all 82 and is the defensive anchor for a third place Western Conference team. Not to mention the fact that, with rebounding being a defensive stat, Jordan led the league with 15 per game, and was fourth in blocks.