Bucks' Jrue Holiday: 'I Feel Like I'm the Defensive Player of the Year Every Year'

Adam WellsMay 12, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Monday, May 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Milwaukee Bucks star Jrue Holiday holds his defense in high esteem.

Speaking to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Holiday said, "I feel like I'm the Defensive Player of the Year every year."

As a backcourt player, Holiday is routinely matched up against the best shooters on opposing teams. 

Haynes noted that Holiday was the primary defender for 584 possessions against opponents who ranked in the top 10 in points per game through May 5. 

Holiday is one of five players with at least 90 assists and 30 blocks this season. Nikola Jokic, Robert Covington, Matisse Thybulle and Danny Green are the others, per Haynes. 

Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports didn't even include Holiday among his top five finalists for 2020-21 Defensive Player of the Year. 

It's often more difficult for guards to get recognized in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Centers and power forwards are routinely around the rim and the last line of defense to the basket, so it's easier to measure their impact on that end of the court. 

The last true guard to be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year was Gary Payton in 1995-96. Ron Artest (2003-04) and Kawhi Leonard (2014-15, 2015-16) are the only non-centers/power forwards to win the award in the past 24 seasons. 

Despite being a standout defender throughout his career, Holiday hasn't been named to the All-Defensive team since the 2018-19 season when he was voted to the second team.