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Breaking down initial odds for NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21

We take a look at some of the players with the best odds to win DPOTY this upcoming season.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis blocks the shot of Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn during the fourth quarter in game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena.  Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’re about three weeks away from the start of the 2020-21 NBA season and slowly but surely odds for each award are being rolled out. The latest to drop on DraftKings Sportsbook are odds for Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, it seemed to be a tight race on the court between Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers PF Anthony Davis, though the voting breakdown told another story. The Greek Freak ran away with the award, winning both DPOTY and MVP (his second). The early odds for 2020-21 have both players among the favorites but not with the best odds. Let’s take a look.

Ahead of AD and Giannis is Jazz C Rudy Gobert, who had won the award in back-to-back seasons prior to 2020. The Jazz return essentially the same lineup and Gobert is still in his prime. AD comes in ahead of Giannis and I think I know why initially. The Bucks added Jrue Holiday to the rotation, which should take some defensive pressure off of Giannis in the paint. Holiday is a great perimeter defender, which could lead to less instances of Antetokounmpo having to compensate when opponents drive to the basket.

Davis won’t have Dwight Howard to lean on down low, so the All-Star will need to do more in the paint this season. The Lakers also don’t have Avery Bradley this regular season, so overall their defense could be slightly worse than the championship team. That was a big reason why Giannis won the award last season as the anchor for Milwaukee.

Looking down from the top 3, there are a few decent values. Adebayo showed he can be an elite defender in the playoffs, particularly the NBA Finals against L.A. Ben Simmons at one point last season was viewed as a favorite to win DPOTY. His case sort of lost steam when the Sixers struggled. Perhaps under Doc Rivers there’s a chance Simmons can focus more on being an elite defender. One of my favorite long-shots is Robert Covington. The Blazers defense last season was putrid. RoCo was brought in to provide some defensive stability. If Portland takes a big jump statistically on D, Covington likely gets most of the credit.

NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds 2021

Rudy Gobert, C, UTA: +250
Anthony Davis, PF, LAL: +275
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, MIL: +400
Bam Adebayo, C, MIA: +1000
Joel Embiid, C, PHI: +1000
Ben Simmons, PG/SF, +2500
Kawhi Leonard, SF, LAC: +3000
Brook Lopez, C, MIL: +3000
Marcus Smart, G, BOS: +3000
Robert Covington, F, POR: +5000
Draymond Green, PF/C, GSW: +5000
Jrue Holiday, G, MIL: +5000
Myles Turner, C, IND: +5000

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