2015 NBA Award Picks: MVP, ROY, MIP, DPOY, COY

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Defensive Player of the Year

November 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) shoots the basketball against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Winner: Rudy Gobert (Utah)

Runner-Up: Draymond Green (Golden State)

Draymond has been the best defender who has played the most minutes. His versatility is key in the Warriors being one of the best defensive teams in the league, but I’m not sure he’s been the ‘best’, hence my choice to select elsewhere.

The best? It may be Draymond’s teammate in Andrew Bogut, but due to missed time and low minutes in comparison to others, my choice goes to second-year center Rudy Gobert.

Gobert isn’t the sole reason why the Jazz are a good defensive team, but he’s the number one reason why they’ve posted an all-time best defensive rating since Gobert has stepped into the starting lineup. Whatever measure you choose to use to determine how good a defender Gobert has been, it’s there for you: the eye test shows he’s a monster shot blocker and even better rim protector; per SportsVU, the “Stifle Tower” allows 40.1% in the paint, the best in the NBA by any player contesting five or more shots per game; Gobert is fourth for a center in ESPN’s defensive real-plus minus stat at 3.74; Gobert is second in the league in total blocked shots (186); and finally, Gobert is 5th in the league in defensive rating (97.9).

If that doesn’t yell Defensive Player of the Year, I don’t know what does.

Tom West:

Winner: Draymond Green (Golden State)

Runners-Up: Rudy Gobert (Utah) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio)

As entertaining as it’s been to watch the Stifle Tower and his blocks lead the Utah Jazz into a new age of defensive dominance, Draymond Green has to take home the award for Defensive Player of the Year. First and foremost, the body of work he’s produced. He’s started 77 games this year compared to Gobert’s 35 (he may have had to wait for Enes Kanter’s departure, but this can’t discredit what Green has done all season). What gives Green the nod over Leonard is that the Warriors, as a team, have been better than the Spurs in terms of defense (1st in defensive efficiency compared to 3rd, and Golden State have 10 more wins).

Draymond has been the defensive master of the NBA’s best team all year. His ability to guard every position from 1 to 4, defend big men in the post despite being just 6’7″, and his second place ranking in defensive win shares make him the top candidate to win this award.