All the attention on this season's MVP race has obscured an equally impressive battle on the ballot. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert have both submitted seasons worthy of winning Defensive Player of the Year honors, and have done so with styles that highlight new and old ways to dominate defensively.
The 7-foot-1 Gobert, aka the Stifle Tower, aka the French Rejection, is the traditional force protecting the rim. According to SportVU tracking data on NBA.com/Stats, Gobert has defended the most shots inside 5 feet of any player (10.2 per game) while also allowing the lowest percentage of anyone who has faced at least 400 such shots.
Right behind Gobert in terms of opponent shooting at the rim? Green, who has faced fewer shots inside 5 feet (7.1 per game) because he's equally capable of chasing the NBA's new-wave stretch 4s around the perimeter.
Both Green's Warriors (second) and Gobert's Jazz (third) are among the NBA's top defensive teams on a per-possession basis. So who's the pick?
Using a combination of scouting and the limited defensive statistics that are available, I've made my selection for DPOY along with the rest of my All-Defensive teams, chosen by position.