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NBA Defensive Player of the Year featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mikal Bridges and more: March 9th, 2022 | Latest Power Rankings by Sportskeeda

Latest NBA Defensive Player of the Year Power Rankings by Sportskeeda
Latest NBA Defensive Player of the Year Power Rankings by Sportskeeda
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Kunal Sethi

The NBA Defensive Player of the Year race has remained stagnant in the second half of the season while the other award races are heating up. The ladder is pretty much fixed on the select few candidates, and there isn't much change in the rankings. However, how a team finishes their season makes a huge impact in the race, and these final few games will majorly determine who wins the award.

The top four teams in the West have been the same for months, while the Eastern Conference is in chaos. The Chicago Bulls are plummeting in the standings, and it looks like the 5th-place Boston Celtics are going to grab home-court advantage in the playoffs. Similarly, the fifth-place Dallas Mavericks are also on the verge of overtaking the Jazz for the fourth spot in the West.

Let's take a look at the top five of the NBA DPOY Power Rankings.

#5 Draymond Green

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors against the Phoenix Suns
Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors against the Phoenix Suns

Previous week’s NBA DPOY Power Ranking - 5th (-)

Last Week: Games played - 0; Games won - 0; Games lost - 0

Overall: Games played - 34; Games won - 28; Games lost - 6

Last Week: PPG - N/A, APG - N/A, RPG - N/A

Overall: PPG - 7.9, APG - 7.4, RPG - 7.6

Last Week: FG% - N/A, 3P% - N/A, FT% - N/A

Overall: FG% - 53.7%, 3P% - 28.6%, FT% - 59.7%

Draymond Green was so good during the first half of the season that he was running away with the DPOY award. The Golden State Warriors were ranked first in defensive rating to begin the season, and they were so historically great that even after Green's absence and their recent slump, they are still ranked first.

Green spoke about returning and dominating right away on his podcast, "The Draymond Green Podcast:"

"Obviously if I didn't get hurt I was running away with that, and you know I was running away with it, because no one still has solidified themselves, and I had solidified myself by Game 30."
The Warriors recent defensive struggles has shown @JoeGiglioSports just how valuable Draymond Green is on that end of the floor 💪Is he worth a DPOY bet?@BetQLDaily: twitch.tv/betql https://t.co/5WOtauTafq

Green is targeting the March 14 game against the Washington Wizards as his return date. If the Warriors start winning games and start showing their true defensive prowess after he comes back, his case for the DPOY will improve.

#4 Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Orlando Magic
Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Orlando Magic

Previous week’s NBA DPOY Power Ranking - 3rd (↓1)

Last Week: Games played - 4; Games won - 2; Games lost - 2

Overall: Games played - 66; Games won - 44; Games lost - 22

Last Week: PPG - 15.8, APG - 0.3, RPG - 4.0

Overall: PPG - 16.4, APG - 1.1, RPG - 5.9

Last Week: FG% - 44.0%, BPG - 2.0, FT% - 84.2%

Overall: FG% - 41.6%, BPG - 2.2, FT% - 80.3%

Jaren Jackson Jr. is strengthening his DPOY case. He registered three blocks in two of the four games last week and is now the league leader in total blocks and blocks per game. The Memphis Grizzlies are eighth in the NBA in defensive rating, and Jackson Jr. is the main reason behind that. He started the season with 250-1 odds to win the DPOY award but is now at 6-1 odds.

Desmond Bane said it's a "no-brainer" when it comes to Jaren Jackson Jr. being a candidate for DPOY. Bane said Jaren can do a little bit of everything, defensively, and called him the "anchor of our defense." It's a big reason the team has been playing so well this last month.

The Memphis Grizzlies are +3.0% on blocks, +2.1% in offensive rating and the opponent eFG% drops by 0.2% when Jackson is on the floor.

#3 Mikal Bridges

Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns against the Brooklyn Nets
Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns against the Brooklyn Nets

Previous week’s NBA DPOY Power Ranking - 4th (↑1)

Last Week: Games played - 3; Games won - 1; Games lost - 2

Overall: Games played - 61; Games won - 49; Games lost - 12

Last Week: PPG - 15.7, APG - 3.7, RPG - 3.0

Overall: PPG - 13.5, APG - 2.3, RPG - 4.2

Last Week: SPG - 2.0, 3P% - 50.0%, FT% - 83.3%

Overall: SPG - 1.2, 3P% - 36.7%, FT% - 83.6%

Many believe Mikal Bridges should be leading the DPOY race. He is exceptionally handling assignments against superstars like Stephen Curry, James Harden and LeBron James and often winning those battles. Bridges is always the primary defensive assignment on the opposition's best player.

He gave an interview with NBA.com and spoke about his DPOY candidacy and defensive prowess:

"It’s a mix of everything. ... I think the biggest thing is just playing hard and understanding the game. Studying as well is a big help. My whole thing is knowing tendencies and being aggressive. I’m blessed I have a great team, a great staff, and they help me every time I’m out there."
Mikal Bridges was asked about DPOY rankings and making an All-Defensive team as possible goals for himself."Win. That's the main goal. All that stuff comes with winning. Can't control none of that stuff, just gotta go out there and hoop."

He averaged over two steals per game last week and is 17th in the league in total steals with 80.

#2 Rudy Gobert

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz dunks against the Dallas Mavericks.
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz dunks against the Dallas Mavericks.

Previous week’s NBA DPOY Power Ranking - 1st (↓1)

Last Week: Games played - 3; Games won - 1; Games lost - 2

Overall: Games played - 49; Games won - 33; Games lost - 16

Last Week: PPG - 11.3, APG - 0.7, RPG - 13.7

Overall: PPG - 15.6, APG - 1.1, RPG - 14.8

Last Week: FG% - 70.6%, BPG - 1.3, FT% - 66.7%

Overall: FG% - 70.4%, 3P% - 0.0%, FT% - 68.8%

Rudy Gobert leads the NBA in rebounding, and the three-time DPOY is out for his fourth award.

The Utah Jazz are ranked 10th in the league in defensive rating and are bottom five in that category when Gobert is off the floor. Gobert is not just manning the paint and protecting the glass but is also daring to guard the perimeter this season. He leads the Jazz in PER this season. The Frenchman might suffer from voter fatigue, but his case for the DPOY award remains solid.

Even Draymond Green must have been impressed by Rudy Gobert’s iso defense on Luka Doncic down the stretch. The 3-time DPOY was up for the challenge against one of the league’s most lethal offensive weapons.

#1 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game
Giannis Antetokounmpo at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game

Previous week’s NBA DPOY Power Ranking - 2nd (↑1)

Last Week: Games played - 4; Games won - 4; Games lost - 0

Overall: Games played - 55; Games won - 36; Games lost - 19

Last Week: PPG - 30.0, APG - 5.8, RPG - 13.3

Overall: PPG - 29.4, APG - 6.0, RPG - 11.5

Last Week: FG% - 53.8%, SPG - 2.0, BPG - 2.0

Overall: FG% - 54.4%, SPG - 1.1, BPG - 1.4

Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a strong case for his second DPOY award before turning 30 years old. He is also leading the MVP race, according to most publications, as the Milwaukee Bucks continue to dominate. They have won their last five games in a row and the Greek Freak is averaging 30 a game

in that span. He is also averaging over two blocks and steals per game, and no one seems to have an answer for him lately. He is coming off a 39-point outing against the OKC Thunder, but he did so in just 29 minutes.

Giannis with a huge block to keep the Bucks up. Is he anyone's DPOY choice?(via @NBA) https://t.co/uZGQbez3jC

live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Will Giannis Antetokounmpo win his second DPOY trophy?

Yes

No

37 votes so far

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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