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2016 PBT Awards: Defensive Player of the Year

Kevin Martin, Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) tangles with San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard (2) and Kevin Martin during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 87-79. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

AP

The end of the NBA season is here, and if we at NBC’s ProBasketballTalk had ballots in front of us, here is how we’d vote for NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Kurt Helin

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Draymond Green

3. DeAndre Jordan

Kawhi Leonard won the award last year and the only question was “did he play enough games.” That’s not a debate this year. He is locking guys down on the perimeter and is key to the best defense in the NBA. Draymond Green and his versatility earns second place. Third is DeAndre Jordan, who became a much better defender within the team system this season and is finally living up to the hype Doc Rivers has been selling for a couple seasons.

Sean Highkin

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Draymond Green

3. DeAndre Jordan

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Dan Feldman

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Kawhi Leonard

2. Draymond Green

3. Rudy Gobert

The final spot was the only tough call, and it came down to Gobert, Tim Duncan, Andrew Bogut and DeAndre Jordan. Duncan and Bogut are the best defenders of the four, but they also played the least – meaning they impacted the fewest defensive possessions. Jordan, a greatly improved defender, deserves credit for taking such a large load. Gobert, who missed significant time due to injury is a better defender than Jordan on a per-possession basis, is the middle-ground choice. Pick any of the four, and I wouldn’t object.

The next problem: Because they’re all centers, I’ll have to parse the other three again for the All-Defensive second team.