NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2023 ladder. DPOY candidates

With more than half of the season already in the record books, we can look back at the numbers and some performances to determine who deserves to be an exclusive part of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2023 ladder.

NBA Player of the Year 2023

You know how the old saying goes. Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. That age-old premise still holds true, even in an offensive league where defense seems like a lost art. That’s why the NBA trade deadline is often a frenzy of teams trying to add 3-and-D players and rim stoppers to keep the best scorers on Earth in check.

Of course, there’s only so much you can do to stop guys like Kevin Durant, LeBron James or Stephen Curry from getting their buckets. But a few guys are good enough to at least make them uncomfortable while also shutting down other players in the league.

That’s why the league honors the season’s most disruptive defensive force every year. And as has been the case over the years, there’s no shortage of worthy candidates this season. But who will take home the prize? Let’s break it down.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo

It has become commonplace to see Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name among potential NBA award winners. In fact, it seems like people aren’t impressed with his numbers and play anymore and we just take him for granted. However, there is absolutely nothing normal about averaging 30 points per game while being one of the best defenders on Earth.

I mean, that’s the Michael Jordan standard. Giannis has already taken home the award once, adding to his first-ballot Hall of Fame resume. He’s gotten some criticism for not always defending the opposing team’s best player, but that’s part of the game, too. His combination of size, speed, strength, length and athleticism simply allows him to guard the one through five with ease.

4. Bam Adebayo

For years, the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo has been among the top DPOY candidates, and this is no exception to the rule. He’s been pretty vocal about constantly being turned down for this award, but that hasn’t been the case. He excelled as a wing defender and solid on the perimeter, but he was never the best defender in the league; it’s just a fact.

It’s the same again this season. The Heat struggled to stay competitive and consistent, even despite Adebayo’s Herculean effort on the defensive end of the floor. He’s not a shooter and he’s an outstanding hitter, and no one can deny that, but he’s not at the top of any advanced metrics, so he’ll miss out on another year.

3. Nick Claxton

Brooklyn Nets big man Nick Claxton has emerged as a legitimate threat to run away with the award, quickly climbing the ladder of the 2023 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He has been a staunch defender of coach Jacques Vaughn, proving: that he just needed to experience more playing time and prove his worth. Unfortunately, the Nets or Steve Nash didn’t seem to feel the same way in the early stages of his career.

Claxton has become one of the most disruptive defensive presences in the Association. Not only does he lead the East in blocks at 2.6 points per game despite playing less than 30 minutes a night, but he also excels on the perimeter in front of faster and smaller players. We wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up taking home this award if the Nets finish the season strong after their busy trade deadline.

2. Brooke Lopez

Brook Lopez, once considered a poor defender and offensive-minded big man, has been one of the best defenders in the NBA this season. He deserves a lot of credit for how his game has changed and adapted over the years, especially since joining the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s taken on a different role and is no longer an offensive personality, let alone an old-school big man with a face.

Lopez expanded his offensive repertoire to become a consistent three-point shooter, earning the nickname “Splash Mountain.” Now you can add lock defender to his resume as he consistently ranks among the league leaders in contested and altered shots, wreaking havoc in the box and both corners with his size and lateral movement. He may not be fast or athletic, but he sure can shut down your favorite player.

1. Jaren Jackson Jr.

If Jaren Jackson stays healthy and takes another leap forward offensively, he could become one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. His raw skills are simply too impressive and his defensive instincts are simply a beauty to behold. He’s been an elite defender for years now, but it looks like he’ll finally take home the distinction when he can finally stay on the floor.

There is a bit of controversy that his stats are inflated at home, with some questionable rebounds, steals and blocks being credited to him. But even if you strip them away, Jackson Jr. has to be considered one of the most influential quarterbacks in the Association.

He can guard the one-to-five, pick your pocket, disrupt inbound plays, be a threat in passing lanes and hit the stands like a young version of Kevin Garnett.

Source link