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NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Injury Not Impacting Draymond Green's Odds

Even with Draymond Green's calf injury, his DPOY odds have shortened. Meanwhile, the back-end of the top-five DPOY odds is shaken up by two newcomer centers who are shutting down opponents.
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NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Injury not impacting Draymond Green's odds

Even with Draymond Green's calf injury, his DPOY odds have shortened. Meanwhile, the back-end of the top-five DPOY odds is shaken up by two newcomer centers who are shutting down opponents.

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5. Jarrett Allen (+6000, Last month: Unranked) (Bet $100 to win $6000)

I love Jarrett Allen's game this year, but are we sure he is even the best frontcourt defender on his own team? Frankly, Evan Mobley should be occupying this spot considering he leads all centers (with at least 30 minutes per night) in defensive rating and defensive win shares this season.

Allen is no slouch as well, checking in with almost 11 rebounds, one steal and one and a half blocks per game. The Allen-Mobley duo is leading a defense that ranks third overall on the season and hold opponents to the second-lowest points per game this season (behind only Golden State).

Their version of the Twin Towers are allowing only 45 points in the paint plus just 12.5 second-chance points this season. They are top ten in opponents' field goal percentage, opponents' rebounds, and defensive plus/minus. However, I believe by season's end we may see Mobley make this list and Allen will have faded back into nothing more than an extreme longshot.

4. Joel Embiid (+3000, Last month: Unranked) (Bet $100 to win $3000)

Embiid has been playing like he wants the MVP award the past three weeks and is averaging 33.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and more than 2.0 steals + blocks per game. This has all contributed to the 76ers posting the fourth-best defensive rating in January and allowing the seventh-fewest points per game to opponents.

Beyond Embiid, the 76ers have questions to answer on offense. That was clear when they blew a huge lead to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday solely because the Clippers converted to a zone and Philadelphia didn't know how to handle it. But the defense was still stout by allowing just 40 points in the first half and only 102 for the game.

The team overall is still looking to fill the void left by Ben Simmons' defensive presence, but the interior has been all but locked down my Embiid and Tobias Harris. Over the last 15 games, Philadelphia allows the sixth-fewest points in the paint and ninth-fewest second chance points. Embiid may not come close to winning this award in 2021-2022, but his all-around game is making him a strong case for MVP.

3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+800, Last month: +850) (Bet $100 to win $800)

The other three players trailing Draymond Green on this list all got huge bumps on the injury news for the Warriors star forward, but Giannis is still just sort of treading water, quietly continuing as a one-man defensive wrecking crew for the fourth-best team in the East.

Among forwards this season, Giannis is top-ten in rebounds, blocks, and defensive rating. The Bucks as a team have the sixth-best defensive rating this season despite missing interior stopper Brook Lopez for all but 20 minutes this year. The combination of Giannis and Jrue Holiday create a lethal inside-outside defensive combo that teams are having a tough time solving.

Even after winning a title, the Bucks have employed a new defensive scheme that causes havoc on the perimeter (especially at the point of the pick and roll) instead of just relying on Giannis to cover everything that gets past the perimeter defenders. When you have someone as versatile and disruptive as Giannis you can afford to risk these types of defensive schemes, even as they're missing Lopez.

This may be a two-man race the for the award when all is said and done, but Giannis and his defensive evolution deserves serious consideration.

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2. Rudy Gobert (+185, Last month: +275) (Bet $100 to win $185)

Here is what I wrote about Gobert's DPOY chances just one month ago:

"There are no metrics – individual or team – that would prevent Gobert from being a finalist for this award again. The biggest thing holding him back might just be award fatigue from the voters. Do they really want the same player to win four out of the past five years?"

Well, it turns out it may not be a metric, but rather an injury to the player ahead of him that might give him a boost in the odds. Draymond Green is now injured, which has allowed Gobert to make significant gains on him in the last couple weeks.

Among centers, Gobert ranks third in defensive rating this season and first in rebound rate. He leads the league in rebounds per game and is second in blocks per contest. He is third in defensive win shares among centers.

1. Draymond Green (+110, Last month: +150) (Bet $100 to win $110)

How can a player's odds move sharply down while they miss games due to an injury? Well, consider the Warriors performance collectively and on the defensive end without Green in the lineup the past nine games.

On the season, the Warriors allow 102 points per game. The last nine games, it's up to 104.7. On the season, the Warriors allow 42.5 rebounds per game (third best in the NBA). In the last nine, that number is 45.7 (21st in the NBA). Points in the paint? Just 42.1 on the season and 46.4 with Green out of the lineup.

Green is engine of this elite defensive unit this year and it suffers without his presence. Now, if the calf injury lingers longer than two weeks, there is definite opportunity for others to move up. Oddsmakers are essentially calling for even money to make Draymond the winner. That makes Giannis and Gobert look like strong values just in case the Warriors take it slow with their star forward before the playoffs.

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Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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