The 2020-21 NBA season is underway and this year’s Defensive Player of the Year race could be interesting. We’ve identified a pair of candidates on DraftKings Sportsbook who are on the rise and another who are off to slow starts.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (+1000)
Philadelphia has two players who have been mentioned in DPOY conversations over the year but Simmons is the one getting the attention early on. He’s one of the few players who can really guard five positions. He excels on the perimeter, protects the rim, and jumps passing lanes. He has five blocks and three steals through two games but his versatility is what makes him most impressive. His stock could climb once he faces some elite wings.
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers (+3000)
What’s understood doesn't need to be explained. The Clippers clobbered the Mavericks last week but got blown out by an unreal margin when Leonard missed Sunday’s game. It’s safe to say that “Playoff P” won’t limit Leonard’s upside after Los Angeles’ latest performance. If Leonard comes back and makes the Clippers significantly better he’ll gain ground on the leaders.
Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers (+5000)
Portland traded for Covington hoping to get a rock on defense but has looked horrendous on defense. A true DPOY candidate needs to make his team elite on defense as a whole. The Trail Blazers have given up more than 120 points per game so far and I expect Covington to keep dropping in the ranks if this continues. He can only do so much.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (+4000)
Smart is filling in for Kemba Walker at point guard and has been torched by thought competition. Jrue Holiday put up 25 against the scrappy Celtic before Kyrie Irving returned to TD Garden to score 37 on Christmas Day. Smart still makes plenty of hustle plays and could gain traction when he faces lessee competition. He’s not looking like all All-NBA candidate at this point, but that could change.
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