Spencer: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Who else could it be but the reigning MVP?
Giannis has been an absolute monster on both sides of the ball this season. Even though his steal and block numbers are down from last season his overall defense has gotten even better. According to nba.com, opposing players shoot a ridiculously low 36.1 percent from the field when being guarded by Giannis, which includes holding his opponents to under 42 percent shooting six feet or closer to the basket.
His individual efforts combined with the work of other solid defenders like Kris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe have made the Bucks the best defensive outfit in the league by a large margin. And Giannis makes them historically good. His defensive rating of 96 is three points better than second-place Brook Lopez, which is the best mark by any player since 2015-2016 and the largest gap between first and second place in NBA history.
While credit must be given to other lockdown defenders like Anthony Davis, Marcus Smart and Bam Adebayo, the Greek Freak stands head and shoulders above the rest and is more than deserving of the 2019-2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Adam: Anthony Davis
This was an obvious choice for me, Anthony Davis is the clear Defensive player of the year. Tied for second in blocks with just under two and a half per game and leading the Lakers to the third-best defensive rating in basketball, Davis changed the entire culture in Los Angeles the second he arrived. With the ability and willingness to guard any position, Davis will constantly shift between guarding opposing teams’ best players while still protecting the rim as well as anyone in the league.
For the first time in his career, Davis is on a contending team and has been the catalyst for the Lakers’ buy-in to the defensive end. In my opinion, Davis has been the best defensive player in basketball for three or four years now and its time he is recognized as such with his first Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Zach: Anthony Davis
Prior to the season starting, Anthony Davis talked about wanting to win Defensive Player of the Year. While Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard are all worthy candidates, AD has earned the award so far this year.
Davis is the anchor of the Lakers’ defense, which ranks third-best in the NBA and best in the Western Conference. On top of nearly 27 points and nine rebounds (seven of which defensive) per game, he has averaged 1.5 steals and 2.4 blocks per game this season. He ranks fourth league-wide in individual defensive rating at 100.8, not to mention while playing 34 minutes per game, more than anyone in the top-five.
Without AD’s defense, the Lakers would not be in the position they’re in. Davis’s paint presence on both ends of the floor is a huge factor in the team’s championship odds. This season, he deserves to get recognized for this defense, which has been stellar nearly his whole career.
‘From our Haus to yours’