Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, Rudy Gobert Finalists for 2021 NBA DPOY AwardMay 20, 2021
Draymond Green, Ben Simmons and Rudy Gobert have been selected as finalists for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
The league announced finalists for its six major awards on Thursday on TNT.
Gobert currently is the betting favorite to win the award, with -3000 odds according to FanDuel (bet $100 to win $3.33). The book has +1500 odds for Simmons to come away with the award (bet $100 to win $1,500), while Green isn't among options on the betslip.
The favorite to win is also the most decorated of the finalists. Gobert was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019. While a true team effort from the Utah Jazz helped them finish with the top record in the NBA at 52-20, Gobert was essential in leading the squad to the top of the defensive leaderboards.
The 28-year-old leads the league in defensive field goal attempts (19.1) and boasts a 100.9 defensive rating, carrying a unit that finished third in points allowed per 100 posessions (107.5) (h/t Steve Aschburner of NBA.com).
His stats are a major step above those of the other finalists. Simmons finished the year with a 106.0 defensive rating, though he did help prevent shots from going up with 3.6 deflections (good for third in the NBA) and 1.6 steals per game, a figure that ranked fifth (h/t Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports). His Philadelphia 76ers finished with the second-best defensive rating in the league behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
He also has an expressed desire to win the award.
"I take pride in guarding the best player on the floor every night,” Simmons told reporters in February. "It’s not a one-off thing. If you watch me, I’m typically guarding the best player. Typically the best players are shooting guards or point guards, whatever it is ... I feel like I’m the best defender in the NBA."
Green rounds out the finalists, and he seems to think he's worthy of the award, giving a brief answer to reporters when they asked him about the potential. He helped the Warriors finish with the fifth-rated defense in the league. While he ended the regular season with 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game, he doesn't want to be evaluated on the numbers.
"At times, defense is evaluated by blocks and steals, but that doesn’t necessarily tell the story," he told reporters. "Some of the worst defenders in NBA history have led the league in steals or been right up there in that category."
Green earned the honor in 2017, while Simmons has never won the award but was a 2020 All-Defensive first-team honoree.
For all the latest betting information and reaction, check out B/R Betting.
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