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Betting on the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 2020-21 Season – Assessing the Top Candidates and Their Odds

| November 29, 2020 4:06 am PDT
Likely Winners of NBA Defensive Player of the Year for 2020-21

Offense is celebrated more than ever in the modern NBA. At times it feels like defense is a lost art. The good news is that there are still players who remind us that protecting the basket is, and will always be, crucial for winning games.

Such players can get their recognition through the all-NBA defensive team and the Defensive Player of the Year award. The prices for the 2020-21 season DPOY are out and now it’s a good time to talk about the likely winners of the prestigious honor.

Let’s begin with the early NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds.

Anthony Davis +240
Rudy Gobert +320
Giannis Antetokounmpo +400
Bam Adebayo +800
Joel Embiid +1000
Kawhi Leonard +2000
Myles Turner +3000
Ben Simmons +3000
Draymond Green +3000
Marcus Smart +4000

As you can see there are several big favorites for the DPOY 2021, so the race for the award is likely to be tight. Let’s explore all the main challengers and some of the players that could upset the odds.

Top Favorites for the 2021 NBA DPOY Award

I’ve decided to split the players into two main groups and the first one consists of the top contenders according to the odds.

These are the guys who look most likely to become the Defensive Player of the Season in the upcoming year.

Anthony Davis

It’s hard to ignore Anthony Davis who’s been one of the best rim protectors in the NBA for a couple of years now. The Lakers big man defends the perimeter expertly and his contributions on that end of the floor were crucial for last year’s title.

The Brow’s ability to switch to perimeter players makes him an absolute beast on defense and it’s close to impossible to find a weakness against him. Just look at his performance in the NBA 2020 Finals.

The Defensive Player of the Year early odds for 2020-21 highlight him as the main favorite for the award and that’s hardly a surprise. Davis has all the attributes to win the award and there are only two potential problems here.

The first one is related to the early restart of the league. If Davis is given a break early on and plays significantly fewer games than some of the other contenders, that could hurt his chances.

On top of that, the Lakers brought Mark Gasol who is a former DPOY winner and should share the burden with Davis under the rim. That could relieve him of some defensive responsibilities, so he could focus on the other end of the floor.

Even in that scenario, Anthony Davis remains one of the best defenders in the NBA and he certainly will win the award eventually.

Rudy Gobert

Another big man who is firmly among the leading candidates for the Defensive Player of the Year award every single season is Rudy Gobert. The Frenchman won the prize in 2018 and 2019, making him only the tenth player ever to earn the honor more than once.

Many expected to see a third time in a row in 2020, but Giannis Antetokounmpo finished ahead of Gobert. I’m sure that the Jazz star will be eager to take the crown back, but I see one issue here.

The series against the Nuggets in the 2020 NBA Playoffs might have put a stain on his reputation. Denver found ways to create mismatches against Gobert and exploit them by moving him out of the perimeter.

It was one of the reasons why the Nuggets won and it showcased certain vulnerabilities in the center’s game. Not all NBA teams have the means to exploit them, but there are other big men who are better at guarding the perimeter and that might hurt Gobert’s chances.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

If you are looking for a player that can guard any single position and is always glued to the opponent’s biggest threat, look no further than Giannis. The Greek Freak’s insane physical attributes allow him to suffocate both guards and big men alike.

He is a monster on the defensive end and he deservedly won the Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. There’s little doubt that Giannis will be pushing for another award next season and it’s hard to bet against him.

And yet, I believe that some of the centers he has to compete with might be too strong to match.

NBA DPOY Sleepers for 2021

The three guys I highlighted in the previous section are way above the rest according to the early odds for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2020-21. And yet, I see three other players that have a strong chance too and the prices for them are fantastic.

Bam Adebayo

I have no doubts that Bam Adebayo will eventually win a DPOY award if he stays fit. The Miami big man can guard pretty much anyone thanks to his insane quickness and basketball IQ. He was the shining star for the Heat defensively last season and one of the main reasons the team reached the NBA Finals.

Bam is only 23 and he should only get better. The Heat have a strong roster that should earn a high seed in the East next season and Adebayo will serve as the defensive anchor.

If his team performs well enough on top of his individual contributions, I won’t be surprised to see him as the Defensive Player of the Year.

Joel Embiid

If there’s a guy who could compare to AD and Gobert in the paint, it must be Joel Embiid. The 76ers center is one of the best defenders in the league and probably could’ve won a DPOY prize already under different circumstances.

Embiid’s main problems are that the team underperformed last season and the number of games he misses every year because of injuries. The center gets hurt way too often and that could ruin his chances in 2020-21 as well.

If Embid does stay fit, he certainly can win the award, especially since the 76ers made some good trades to create spacing for their big man.

Jarrett Allen

The price you can get for Jarret Allen to win the prize in most places is +5000 or higher which is absolutely insane. The young Nets center is one of the best defensive big men in the league and he’s an expert protecting the paint.

He split the minutes in the center position with DeAndre Jordan and the Nets weren’t too competitive last season, which is why Allen wasn’t a part of the conversation for the DPOY award.

And yet, the 22-year old should be the starting center in Brooklyn next season and the team should compete with Kyrie and KD back. Allen seems ready to fight for the NBA title and he will have to serve as the Nets’ main defender.

I believe he has a shot at winning the DPOY and the odds you can find online are way too high.

More Cool NBA Content

If you like this post, I recommend you to check our NBA blog section for other similar pieces on various individual awards and more exciting content for the best basketball league in the world.

I also encourage you to share your own thoughts on the Defensive Player of the Year 2020-21 odds. Do you agree with the betting sites or do you think that their evaluation is off? Let me know in the comments below.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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