The NBA Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) award is given to the best defensive player in a given season. This award is a combination of objectivity and subjectivity as statistics are involved, but it still has hints of being an opinion-based award as well. All NBA awards have some level of subjectivity: some years, the voters seem to get it right, while other years, they may not. However, we will analyze a few of my favorite candidates to see which players have better chances than others to win the coveted DPOY award! For example, we will discuss Myles Turner and Rudy Gobert, specifically to detail all of the criteria needed to become a DPOY award winner.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds 2021-22
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds & Changes Explained
The DPOY odds are based on the odds that a sportsbook gives a particular player to win that specific award. These odds are constantly changing because of catalysts to a player or team. This can include a coaching change, team shakeup, injury, and more. For example, part of the reason why you can bet on Rudy Gobert, who has won the DPOY award three of the past four years, at +350 odds, is that he could always get injured, or something else crazy could happen in the coming months. Those are several reasons why this is a very speculative bet that should be approached as more of a “fun” bet than a bet you are expecting to win.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds Futures Bettors
As is the case for all NBA award futures bets, they are speculative. Therefore, they usually have more favorable odds for bettors in the early stages (i.e., preseason or very beginning of the regular season.) The best NBA awards bettors have skill in spotting players’ talent and projecting what players and teams will be successful in any given year. Instinct, and a bit of luck, are also huge aspects required to be successful in an NBA award futures bet like the DPOY award. If you choose to bet on specific NBA awards, especially before or early in the season, try to enjoy it! They are challenging to get right!
Favorite NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds Bets
The Favorite: Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert will go down in NBA history as one of the greatest rim protectors of all time. He is an absolute monster; his length, height, shot anticipation, timing, and straight-line speed create a dominant defensive presence—all of the advanced analytics surrounding defense in the NBA point to Gobert being an all-time defender. Last year, Gobert ranked second in the league in defensive win shares, only behind Mike Conley Jr. There were two other players with higher defensive win shares; however, they only played in a couple of games, so it does not count. Other interesting statistics include FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR metric and ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus, which show that Gobert’s 2020-21 campaign is amongst the most extraordinary defensive efforts ever.
The RAPTOR metric is calculated for every season back to 1977, and Gobert has the greatest season ever scored with a +8.00. The next closest season was the great Ben Wallace in 2003-04 with a 7.34. Third on the list was 1991-92, David Robinson, with a 7.18. For ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus metric, Gobert is again first by a wide margin. The next closest player was Dikembe Mutombo in 1997-98. That particular metric only goes back to 1996, so there are many years unaccounted for; however, it is safe to assume Gobert’s +7.73 would be towards the top of the list if it could go back further. At +350, Gobert is insanely undervalued, even though it is still pre-season. As long as Gobert remains healthy throughout the season, he should be as close to a lock as any player for an award in recent memory. His defensive metrics obliterate all other opposing players; it is just not comparable. Even though some of the metrics cannot go beyond specific years (for many reasons), he has proven that he is one of the all-time defensive greats.
The Underdog: Myles Turner
Myles Turner is a budding, or full-fledged defensive star, depending on how you look at it. Turner averaged an astounding 3.38 blocks per game last year, which is the highest average since Hassan Whiteside in 2015-16 when he averaged 3.68. There has been a lot of change in the NBA in the past twenty years and beyond. Most notably, players are not taking near as many shots in the mid-range or the paint. An inquisitive NBA statistician might wonder what Myles Turner’s block average would have looked like in the ’90s and earlier. I guess that it would be closer to five or six blocks per game in that era; however, there is no way to know for sure. Turner’s near 3.4 blocks per game was almost an entire block (0.7) more than Rudy Gobert’s 2.7 blocks per game, which is quite incredible.
He also averaged right around one steal per game. Opposing players only shot 48.7% at the rim against Turner, and he contested a ton of them per game. The only player with as high of volume contesting shots at the rim that had a lower opponent conversion percentage was Rudy Gobert at 48%. This puts Turner in the category of an elite rim protector, and we may not have even seen his best yet! If Turner improves at all and can slide his feet on the perimeter and provide more switchability to the Pacers, then Turner has a shot at the DPOY award. If Gobert has a down year or suffers injuries that keep him out of several games, then Turner could be next for this prestigious award. At +1200, this is a highly speculative bet, but Turner has a shot.
Several players could come away with the DPOY award for the 2021-22 NBA season; however, Myles Turner and Rudy Gobert are my frontrunners. With all that being said, don’t count out Ben Simmons (+375), Giannis Antetokounmpo (+900), and Anthony Davis (+700), who all have the capability of winning DPOY in the 2021-22 season. If you want to be safe, choose Rudy Gobert. If you want to take a risk that has very favorable odds, consider Myles Turner.