2022-23 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rankings

With the NBA season under way, we have some early picks for the defensive player of the year

The NBAs Defensive Player of the Year trophy presented each year to the leagues top defensive player.

Wikipedia Commons

The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year trophy presented each year to the league’s top defensive player.

Tony Peoples, Reporter

LHStoday sports reporter Tony Peoples ranks his top defensive players in the NBA.  

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak is one of the best players in the NBA in general and is an exceptional player when attacking the opposition basket, but his defensive qualities are incredible too. His 6-foot-11 frame means he is extremely capable of blocking opposition efforts as he possesses a 7-foot-4 wingspan which is tough even for the strongest power forwards to defend. Giannis won the DPOY back in 2020 and it wouldn’t be outlandish for him to win it again. He played a huge part in the Milwaukee Bucks NBA Championship triumph in 2021 and continues to be an valuable asset to his team in all areas of the court. The team expects nothing less than the best for their 2022 season providing rim protection, on-ball resistance and stifling help defense.

Marcus Smart – Boston Celtics

2. Marcus Smart

The Boston Celtics guard won last season’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year award making him the only perimeter defender to take home the trophy since Gary Payton in 1996.  Smart is a versatile, athletic and strong defender who is far from one-dimensional, and can match up with guards and all types of forwards without issue. In Boston’s first two games against the Sixers and Heat, Smart was guarding James Harden, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, P.J. Tucker, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry, those seven players combined scored 11 points.

OG Anunoby – Toronto Raptors

3. OG Anunoby

Anunoby is a versatile defender that has already spent significant time this season matched up with the likes of Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Donovan Mitchell. The league’s leader in steals at 3.1 per game also has the most in the NBA right with 37 and more to come. After missing 34 games last season, Anunoby received just one Second Team vote for All-Defensive Team consideration and he’s now getting the recognition he deserved this season.

Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat

4. Bam Adebayo

In the 2021-22 season, the Heat center averaged 19.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and nearly 1.0 block per game in 56 games played. And he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team for the third time of his professional playing career. Adebayo’s speed and quickness allows him to easily keep up with guards. His strength, core and athleticism  on the court gives front court opponents little time to create an opening with his constant pressure. Bam deserves a first team nod and the running for this award for his ability to defend quick agile dribblers like James Harden and he can equally put up resistance against larger players like Joel Embiid.

Rudy Gobert – Minnesota Timberwolves

5. Rudy Gobert

The former Jazz now Timberwolves big man won Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, 2019 and 2021. selected NBA All-Defensive First Team for the sixth consecutive season and earned his third All-Star selection. Gobert ranked second in the NBA for total blocks (137), fifth in block percentage (5.7%) and third in blocks per game (2.1). Gobert also led the league in rebounds in the 2021-22 season. The resume speaks for itself however he is this low of the list due to the fact that he’s in a new situation, scheme, and fit with the Timberwolves as he now has to play alongside all star big man Karl Anthony Towns.