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Top Contenders and Odds for 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

| August 24, 2021 12:25 pm PDT

We are past the NBA Draft, free agency, and the Summer League. Now, we can set our sights on the NBA regular season. That’s why the top NBA betting sites are beginning to roll out a plethora of NBA prop bets for different awards.

In this post, we’ll focus on the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

Rudy Gobert won the award last season and will look to win back-to-back awards for the second time in his career. Is he the rightful favorite, though? Or could another contender emerge at a bettor price for sports bettors?

Let’s check out the odds for the 2021-2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and assess the top contenders.

2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds

Player Odds
Rudy Gobert +340
Ben Simmons +350
Myles Turner +700
Joel Embiid +900
Anthony Davis +900
Giannis Antetokounmpo +900
Bam Adebayo +1400
Draymond Green +2000
Matisse Thybulle +2000
Jrue Holiday +2000

It’s not much of a surprise to see Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert as the favorite. We mentioned that he is the defending winner of the award.

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons isn’t far behind. We don’t know where Simmons will play this season but he’ll bring his defensive intensity.

After that, there is quite a drop when looking at the 2021-22 NBA DPOY odds. Myles Turner is the next best option at +700, while three players presently tie for +900 odds.

Top Contenders to Win Defensive Player of the Year in 2021-2022

You’re here to investigate the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds, but does the pricing immediately point you in the right direction?

Let’s find out by breaking down the top contenders to win the award this season.

Rudy Gobert (+340)

Rudy Gobert

When it comes to defense, I’m not sure there’s a better center in the league than Rudy Gobert.

The Denver Nuggets originally drafted Gobert in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft but they immediately traded him to the Utah Jazz.

He averaged 2.3 and 2.2 blocks in 2015 and 2016, respectively. However, Gobert didn’t receive recognition until 2017.

That season, Gobert made the All-Defensive First Team thanks to a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game. Gobert also led the league that season in block percentage and defensive win share.

In 2018, Gobert took home his first Defensive Player of the Year award. He dominated the voting, earning 89 of the 101 first-place votes. He averaged 2.3 blocks and 10.7 rebounds.

Gobert became the ninth player to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2019. He continued to be one of the best defenders in the paint with 12.9 rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game.

While he failed to win the award for a third consecutive season, Gobert had another strong season and earned his first all-star game appearance.

He finished on the All-Defensive First Team for the fourth consecutive year.

Last season, things returned to normal as Gobert won the award for the third time in four seasons. He averaged career highs in rebounding (13.5) and blocks (2.7). Gobert had a career-high, nine blocks in a game last season.

His defensive success isn’t an individual thing. Check out where the Jazz have ranked in opponent points per game since 2017.

Year Opponent Points Per Game (Rank)
2016-2017 96.8 (1st)
2017-2018 99.8 (T-1st)
2018-2019 106.5 (4th)
2019-2020 108.8 (9th)
2020-2021 107.2 (3rd)

Gobert is coming off back-to-back all-star game appearances, so his game is getting better.

Honestly, the only thing standing in his way is voter fatigue. He is consistently a top-three defender in the league year in and year out.

Look out for Gobert and the Jazz to show out again this season.

Ben Simmons (+350)

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons’s case is an interesting one. We know he is one of the best defenders in the NBA, but we have no idea where he’ll play next season.

Following a disappointing playoff run, the Philadelphia 76ers have made it known that Simmons is available for trade.

Simmons himself has indicated he does not want to return to Philadelphia. The reason for the fractured relationship was a lack of shooting. On the defensive end, everyone knows Simmons is an elite player.

Simmons missed his entire rookie season as he recovered from foot surgery. He returned in the 2017-2018 season to average 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals. Simmons had another solid defensive season in 2019, but it wasn’t enough to earn All-Defensive honors.

In the 2019-2020 season, Simmons finally earned some recognition. The NBA named him to the All-Defensive First Team.

He led the league with 2.1 steals per game while also contributing 7.8 rebounds per game. His 2.9 steal percentage ranked third in the league.

Even with the offensive struggles last season, Simmons’ defense didn’t take a hit. He averaged 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals. He made the All-Defensive First Team for the second consecutive season.

Over the last two seasons, Simmons has been one of the best in terms of steals per game.

  • Jimmy Butler: 1.9
  • Ben Simmons: 1.8
  • Fred VanVleet: 1.8
  • Kawhi Leonard: 1.7
  • Andre Drummond: 1.7

What makes Simmons so good on the defensive end is his ability to guard positions 1-5. His versatility and length are something you don’t see with most players. His 6’ 11’ height allows him to cover big men.

Surprisingly, Simmons hasn’t won a Defensive Player of the Year award. For what it’s worth, the Athletic recently polled coaches that named Simmons as the best defensive player in the league.

No matter what team he begins the season with, we know he’ll bring the intensity on defense.

Draymond Green (+2000)

Draymond Green

It’s surprising to see Draymond Green so far down the list. The Golden State Warriors forward is known for his elite defense.

Green joined the Warriors as a second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He didn’t make a huge impact in his first two seasons, but he did lead the league in defensive box plus/minus in 2014.

He became an integral piece of the Warriors championship run in 2015. Green became a full-time starter and showed off his defensive prowess. He averaged 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.3 blocks.

In addition to winning the championship, Green made the All-Defensive First Team.

In 2016, Green finished runner up in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He averaged career highs in rebounding (9.5) and blocks (1.4), while also adding in 1.5 steals.

In 2017, Green capped off an amazing season by winning his first Defensive Player of the Year award. Here are his defensive numbers from the stellar season.

  • 7.9 rebounds
  • 2.0 steals (league-leading)
  • 1.4 blocks
  • 5.4 defensive win share (career-high)
  • 3.9 defensive box plus/minus (league-leading)

Over the last four seasons, Green has kept up his great defense. Outside of the 2019-2020 season, Green has made either the All-Defensive First Team or Second Team every season. He had also averaged 1.4 steals or more in all four seasons.

Green is very similar to Ben Simmons because he too can guard positions 1-5. Green is a 6’ 6” forward, but his physicality allows him to defend players that are much taller than him. He can also move his feet really well and stay in front of guards.

Golden Stats should look much better this season, so I expect Green to continue his elite defense.

If you’re looking for value with this bet, I’m not sure there is a better pick than Green at +2000.

Other NBA Defensive Player of the Year Candidates

As with most betting markets, there are some potentially viable options further down the board.

While these players aren’t among the top contenders to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award this year, they can’t be ruled out.

Here are a few other NBA DPOY candidates to consider when placing bets this year.

Marcus Smart (+4000)

Marcus Smart

Coming into the NBA, Marcus Smart was one of the best defenders in college. He averaged 2.9 steals in two seasons at Oklahoma State.

The Boston Celtics drafted Smart sixth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. He immediately made an impact on the defensive end, averaging 1.5 steals.

Over the next three seasons, Smart’s numbers remained consistent. Between the three seasons, he averaged 1.5 steals in the regular season and upped that to 1.6 in the playoffs.

One of the big problems early in Smart’s career was his ability to stay healthy. He missed at least 15 games in three of his first four seasons. For the 2018-2019 season, Smart finally stayed healthy the entire season.

In 80 games, Smart averaged a career-high 1.8 steals and had a league-best 3.1 steal percentage. Smart also set a career-high with a 3.1 defensive win share and 2.0 defensive box plus/minus. He made the All-Defensive First Team for the first time in his career.

Smart made the All-Defensive First Team for the second consecutive season in 2020. He averaged 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals.

Unfortunately, Smart struggled to stay healthy last season, missing 24 games. Because of that, he failed to make the All-Defensive team but he did average 1.5 steals.

Since the 2018-2019 season, the Boston Celtics have been one of the best defensive teams.

Check out where they rank in opponent points per game.

  • Utah Jazz: 107.4 points
  • Miami Heat: 107.6 points
  • Denver Nuggets: 108.6 points
  • Boston Celtics: 108.8 points
  • Toronto Raptors: 108.9 points

It seems like Smart has been around for a while but he is just 27 years old. He should be entering the prime of his career. The Celtics just rewarded him with a four-year, $77 million contract.

With that out of the way, Smart can solely focus on becoming the best defender in the NBA.

Dillon Brooks (+7500)

NBA fans may not be as familiar with Dillon Brooks, but Memphis Grizzlies fans will tell you he was one of the league’s best defenders last season.

Memphis drafted Brooks in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft. In his first three seasons, he was never a big steal guy. He actually never averaged over one steal a game in any season. However, he showed this season that he is one of the best on-ball defenders.

Brooks shut down numerous superstars. There are so many to look through, but we can start with one of the best players in the league,
Luka Doncic.

In the two games the players matched up against each other, Brooks held Doncic to 16 points on 5-20 shooting when guarding him. Doncic also made just two of his 10 three-pointers. Brooks forced four turnovers on Doncic.

Bradley Beal was another player who just couldn’t get going against Brooks. In two games, Beal scored just 10 points when matched up against Brooks. Beal struggled shooting, going just 4-15 from the field and 0-4 on three-point attempts.

Paul George really had a tough time when he faced Brooks and the Grizzlies. In nearly 12 minutes against Brooks, George scored a whopping four points. He went 2-8 from the field and didn’t knock down a three-pointer.

Despite the great defense, Brooks did not make the All-Defensive team. Brooks’ teammate, Ja Morant, was not happy with the snub.

When you watch Brooks, you can tell he is on the verge of making the All-Defensive team.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that his improved offensive game is giving him more exposure. Brooks averaged 17.8 points last season but upped it to 25.8 in the playoffs.

We’ll see if Brooks can go from All-Defensive snub to Defensive Player of the Year. At his odds, I think it’s worth the bet.

Who Will Win the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year?

When I look at the top contenders for the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, I like Ben Simmons, but I have my doubts.

After all, we don’t know where he’ll play next season. What if he joins the Minnesota Timberwolves and they have one of the worst defensive teams in the league?

Because of that, I’m going with Draymond Green.

The Golden State Warriors should be one of the best teams next season and Green will be in the spotlight. I think he has great value.

However, I wouldn’t sleep on Dillon Brooks. Because his odds are so high, you may want to go ahead and throw down a small bet.

If you want some more insight on the upcoming NBA season, check out these articles.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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