With SportVU numbers now available and metrics such as real plus-minus hitting the scene, we know a lot more about defense than we did five years ago.
That means defensive reputation carries less weight, so players like Draymond Green can emerge quickly as defensive stars.
Green leads a quartet of young players who our voters think deserve the Defensive Player of the Year award:
Golden State Warriors
Should win: 44 percent
Will win: 57 percent
The Warriors have the league's best defensive efficiency, and Green's prowess and versatility make that possible. He can switch, he can bang, he gets steals, he blocks shots. He's so good that he has helped change the reputation of the franchise from frivolous fun-and-gunners to juggernaut.
Nobody had a more vocal campaign manager than Jordan, whose coach, Doc Rivers, declared in March: "He's clearly the defensive player of the year. If anybody else gets that award, we need to have an investigation." Rivers might have been pushing for the wrong honor -- Jordan has a better case for first-team All-NBA center as the leader in wins above replacement at his position.
Davis leads the league in blocked shots and blocks per game, routinely erasing drives and jumpers alike. But his Pelicans are just 22nd in defensive efficiency, and his defensive RPM, while much improved, still rates only 10th in the league. Davis probably has a few DPOYs in his future, however.