NBA Defensive Player Of The Year 2023-24: Best Bets & Recent Trends

NBA Betting Odds
NBA Analysis Network

Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr became the youngest player ever to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year last season. Can he accomplish this feat again? Get Defensive Player of the Year award trends and best bets below.

Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies
NBA Analysis Network

The strongest predictor for Defensive Player of the Year is team success. All of the last 15 winners’ respective teams ranked in the top five of Defensive Rating, and 73 percent were top two. Therefore, projecting which teams will dominate defensively is crucial for selecting the eventual winner. 

60 percent of the past 15 winners averaged at least three combined blocks plus steals per game, and all averaged at least two. Finally, it’s extremely rare for guards to claim Defensive Player of the Year, so bigger forwards and centers are the ideal targets. 

NBA BETTING ODDS: Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies, Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

Overall, the profile predicts a frontcourt player with a considerable amount of blocks and steals that plays for a team in the top five of Defensive Rating (preferably top two).

2023-24 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Best Bets

Jaren Jackson Jr. (+600 DK)

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

Memphis ranked third in Defensive Rating in large part due to Jackson Jr’s exceptional rim protection. The young forward led the league at an astounding three blocks per game, and the advanced metrics praised him.

Per Basketball Index, Jackson Jr was third in rim points saved per 75 possessions and fourth in rim defensive field goal percentage versus expected. Jackson Jr’s versatility sets him apart from other elite rim protectors, though, as his roaming and ability to survive on the perimeter make him a menace at all areas of the court. 

Jackson Jr is the best defender in the NBA, and the Grizzlies should once again finish near the top of Defensive Rating. Steven Adams provides additional rim protection and the size to counter bigger offensive centers. He also dominates the glass, which erases second-chance points.

New acquisition Marcus Smart won Defensive Player of the Year during the 2021-22 season, and he remains a devastating point-of-attack defender. 

NBA BETTING ODDS: Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies, Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

Overall, Jackson Jr is the top defender on an elite defensive team. Unlike other categories, voters have no issue presenting the award to the same player for numerous consecutive years. For example, a player has repeated as winner ten times since the award’s inception during the 1982-83 season. 

Evan Mobley (+700 FD)

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

If anyone has a case as the best defender in the league besides Jackson Jr, it is Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley. He’s cut from the same cloth as Jackson Jr, as both are jumbo forwards with the versatility to defend the perimeter and paint at an extremely high level. Mobley is less of a shot-blocker than Jackson Jr, but he’s the superior isolation and perimeter defender. 

Cleveland finished first in Defensive Rating last season, and they once again project to be dominant. Mobley and Jarrett Allen are elite paint defenders who snuff out any shot attempts near the basket. Like Memphis, their rebounding limits second-chance points too.

Meanwhile, wing Isaac Okoro ranked fourteenth across the NBA in Basketball Index’s metric Perimeter Isolation Defense and tenth in Off-Ball Chaser Defense. The trio will guide Cleveland to one of the top defenses in the league. 

NBA BETTING ODDS: Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies, Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers Updates

Overall, Mobley earned All-Defensive First Team last year, and he should once again achieve this honor. Given his team’s success, Mobley will be a dangerous threat to win Defensive Player of the Year.

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