NBA 2015 Awards: Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard Steals NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award:
Should a player that received less first-place votes, defensive rebounds, blocked shots and missed 15 games still win the Defensive Player of the Year Award?
It doesn’t seem likely, but that’s exactly what happened. The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard is the recipient of the 2014-15 Kia Defensive Player of the Year Award (DPOY). Leonard is the sixth forward to average the most steals in the NBA season. He joins David Robinson (1992) and Alvin Roberson (1986) as the only Spurs to win DPOY.
— ESPN First Take (@ESPN_FirstTake) April 24, 2015
Is Draymond Green with envy?
One can only guess as to what the criteria is for determining DPOY. The voting process is decided by a select panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters who vote for the award. Players are awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote, and three points for each third-place vote.
Leonard tallied 37 first-place votes, 41 second-place and 25 third-place votes, totaling 333 vote points. Conversely, Draymond Green tallied 45 first-place votes, 25 second-place, and 17 third-place votes, totaling only 317 vote points.
Leonard compiled 376 total defensive rebounds, and 48 blocked shots in 64 games played. Contrary to final voting results, Green collected 533 defensive rebounds, and 99 blocked shots in 79 games played. Green’s totals were better than Leonard’s, Draymond had 157 more defensive rebounds, 51 more blocked shots and played in 15 more games.
Leonard led the NBA with a 2.3 steals per game average. However, he finished tied for fifth with the Dallas Mavericks’ Monta Ellis in total steals with 148. Green’s 123 steals, is the one statistic that he totaled less than Leonard, other than total vote points.
I feel the award was stolen from Draymond Green, so, it’s fitting that the DPOY award was won by the NBA steals leader, and the stats of deception.
The voting results are tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young. But these results don’t add up correctly. This reminds me a scene in the movie Head of State, starring Chris Rock when he said “I asked my niece the other day, what’s 4 + 4? She said 44… That ain’t right.”
It’s no doubt that Kwahi Leonard is an elite player and one of the premier defenders in the NBA. But the same can be said for Draymond Green. Both players deployed assignments to guard the opponents’ best offensive player. The Golden State Warriors were the top defensive team in the league, and Green was the indispensable reason for that achievement.
Leonard said “This isn’t the goal for our team at all, obviously, we want another Championship.”
So Kawhi (why) did he win?
So why did he win the DPOY? Leonard said “This isn’t the goal for our team at all, obviously, we want another Championship.” I believe the select voters of the award try during the season to watch every game, but mostly follow a team or only watch the nationally televised games.
The San Antonio Spurs have played in 45 playoff games during the past two seasons (2012-2014), the most of any franchise, including 12 NBA Finals games, with colossal viewership.
Leonard joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win the DPOY and the NBA Finals MVP. I believe Kwahi Leonard won the NBA’s DPOY as a residual of the NBA Playoffs and more importantly, giving LeBron James fits while guarding him throughout the biggest Stage – the NBA Finals.
But whatever the reason it still feels like a crime was committed against Draymond Green, because he should have won DPOY.
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