The NBA Defensive player of the Year award has seen a number of potent candidates who have as expected come to the fore for their sides on the defensive end. Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard are the only currently active NBA players who have won the award twice, with the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo being the latest recipient.
All three have emerged as some of the frontrunners to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award again, although the likes of Anthony Davis and Myles Turner are not far behind. In this article, we attempt to rank the five best defenders in the 2020-21 NBA season thus far.
5 Candidates for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2021
The LA Lakers, Utah Jazz and the Clippers all have defensively astute teams, although quite a bit can change until the end of the NBA season. The NBA currently has multiple defenders who can bring about a huge impact on games despite not scoring too many points, although the likes of Leonard and Giannis are more than used to making an impact on both ends of the court consistently. The five frontrunners for the NBA's sixth man of the year award have been ranked below.
#5 Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Milwaukee Bucks’ defense has not been at the same level as one would expect, with three of the best defenders in the NBA currently in their ranks. The likes of Khris Middleton and Khris Holliday along with Giannis, form an astute lineup on paper but they have been unlucky with injuries, something that is bound to improve as the season progresses.
Giannis might not be the odds-on favorite to win the award for the second time, but has been producing impressive numbers, with 9.7 defensive rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. The Milwaukee Bucks are currently 3rd in the NBA Eastern Conference and are expected to mount a serious title charge this time around. Whether they are successful in doing so might have a lot to do with whether Giannis can take home the DPOY award for the second time consecutively.
#4 Ben Simmons
Offensively, Ben Simmons has been the Philadelphia 76ers’ second best player, with 15.2 points and 8 assists per game. However, his defensive tenacity and the ability to produce unlikely steals means that he is also a frontrunner for the DPOY award, and reclaims his #4 spot in the Power Rankings.
Ben Simmons is currently producing 6.7 defensive rebounds, 1.7 steals and .8 blocks per game, and his ability to take on and dominate individual scorers for entire nights has been on display in multiple Philadelphia 76ers’ games already. Ben Simmons is a sturdy defender who has the height and skills to take on any offensive player, something that will be useful for any title charge that the 76ers manage to mount.