Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan finishes 4th in NBA DPOY voting

Mar 7, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) reacts to a foul call during the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) reacts to a foul call during the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Kawhi Leonard repeated as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finished 4th in the voting.

It’s not a surprise that Kawhi Leonard became the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season over Los Angeles Clippers star DeAndre Jordan. There’s no doubt that Leonard is the best perimeter defender in the game, possessing the tireless effort, length, and intensity to smother the league’s best scorers like no one else can. He may not have the versatility of Draymond Green to play at center and defend fives in the post, but Leonard was the leader of the San Antonio Spurs’ incredible league-best defense.

They led the NBA in defensive efficiency by allowing a mere 96.6 points per 100 possessions, surrendering only 43.6 percent shooting. All season long, at the forefront of that stifling resilience to let teams score, was two-time DPOY and 2013-14 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Unsurprisingly, the defensive star and all-around backbone of the Warriors, Green, finished 2nd in the voting. Meanwhile, Jordan came in at 4th place, gaining most of his total from 3rd place selections.

The following numbers indicate the first place, second place, and third place votes for each nominee from left to right, finishing with their total. Via Jay King of Mass Live:

Kawhi Leonard | 84 | 41 | 4 | 547
Draymond Green | 44 | 62 | 15 | 421
Hassan Whiteside | 2 | 12 | 37 | 83
DeAndre Jordan | 0 | 7 | 29 | 50
Paul Millsap | 0 | 3 | 12 | 21
Avery Bradley | 0 | 1 | 11 | 14
Rudy Gobert | 0 | 1 | 10 | 13
Tony Allen | 0 | 1 | 2 | 5
Anthony Davis | 0 | 1 | 1 | 4
Andre Drummond | 0 | 1 | 0 | 3
Jimmy Butler | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2
LeBron James | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2
Trevor Ariza | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1
Jae Crowder | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1
Al Horford | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1
Kyle Lowry | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1
Chris Paul | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1

After leading the NBA in blocks per game with a ridiculous 3.7, it was fairly inevitable that Hassan Whiteside would come in at 3rd behind Leonard and Green. Particularly over the first half of the season, though, Whiteside clearly had some issues with maintaining a constant motor and leaving his position to bait players into the lane for easy blocks. However, he’s gradually become more refined as the season has progressed, enforcing his imposing size as an absolute force in the paint.

Nevertheless, you can’t judge a player by his blocks per game average. Leonard and Green were thoroughly deserving as the top two, and there was no guarantee that Whiteside should have come 3rd.

Fellow candidate Rudy Gobert, renowned as being one of the fiercest rim protectors in the NBA, even made it clear on Twitter that he wanted Kawhi to take home the hardware over anyone else.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s signature high-flying defense, which constantly sees him thwart opponents driving to the basket and serve as an elite help defender, should at least earn him a spot in an All-NBA and All-Defensive team. Given the Clippers’ record this season and the lack of top centers on winning teams, he may even make the All-NBA first team.

The impact Jordan has on the game is so valuable to the Clippers, with his aerial presence alone posing a threat to opponents. The danger of his pick-and-roll ability, combined with his stellar defense at the other end, helped him record a ridiculous 122 offensive rating and stifling 98 defensive rating.

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As you can see from the very bottom of the votes, Clippers point guard Chris Paul snuck in at the end with one 3rd place vote. After leading the Clippers in Blake Griffin‘s absence for several months, upping his game at both ends of the floor, Paul deserved some attention as the NBA’s best defensive point guard. Like Jordan, he has a great shot to make the All-Defensive first team.

If Paul does, he’ll have done so for five straight seasons.

There were some unexpected names on the list, too. Paul Millsap and Avery Bradley were thoroughly deserving of finishing around the top, but it’s surprising that a player like Trevor Ariza was deemed by someone as a top-three defender this season.

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Well, as long as the top two candidates were correct, it’s hard to fault the results too much. As great as Jordan was for the Clippers this season, he wasn’t on par with the leader of the NBA’s best defense and the best defender from the first 73-win team in history.