Kawhi Leonard Named NBA Defensive Player Of The Year

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Kawhi Leonard named NBA defensive player of the year.

For the second straight season, San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard is the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Leonard, 24, received 84 of a possible 130 first-place votes, per an NBA release. He finished 126 points ahead of Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who earned 44 first-place votes. Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside finished in third place.

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has been named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year.

Behind him was Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, followed by Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside in third.

As a team, the Spurs allowed the fewest points per game during the regular season, giving up three points fewer per contest than the Utah Jazz in second.

Individually, Leonard finished the season averaging 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He also ranked fifth in the NBA in Defensive Real Plus-Minus, as the only non-power forward or center in the top 25.

Leonard is the first player to win consecutive DPOYs since Dwight Howard took home three straight from 2009 to 2011. He’s the first non-center in a quarter-century (since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91) to win two straight.

Taken a step further, Leonard joins Sidney Moncrief as the only perimeter-oriented players to win back-to-back awards.

Because of Leonard’s generally quiet demeanor, some basketball fans still don’t realize we’re talking about one of the game’s five best players.

Leonard should and most likely will be a top-three MVP candidate this season. Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Leonard were the NBA’s best players all year. Curry will win the award, but the debate between James and Leonard is suddenly worthwhile.


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