The 2022-23 NBA season is halfway complete, which means it’s time to start looking at futures bets you can make before the end of the regular season. Below, we’ll be taking a closer look at the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award odds and best picks.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart won the award this past season, becoming the first player at his position to do so since Gary Payton in 1996.
However, there are a number of other challengers in this year’s race, including an up-and-coming star that could dominate this category for years to come. Let’s dive in and see who will be vying to take home the honor of being the NBA’s best defender in 2023.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds 2023
These NBA gameday odds are current as of Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. ET and courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. (-160)
- Brook Lopez (+500)
- Nic Claxton (+900)
- OG Anunoby (+1600)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1800)
- Bam Adebayo (+1800)
- Evan Mobley (+2200)
- Jarrett Allen (+2200)
- Draymond Green (+3000)
- Joel Embiid (+3000)
- Rudy Gobert (+5000)
- Myles Turner (+6000)
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NBA Defensive Player of the Year Favorites
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (-160)
Jackson is the runaway favorite to win this award, and for good reason. The 23-year-old is averaging a league-high 3.3 blocks in just 26.1 minutes per game this season, and he’s tacking on another steal for good measure. His numbers are outstanding.
Moreover, Jackson’s Grizzlies have made a significant improvement on the defensive end of the floor since he returned to the lineup on Nov. 15, now ranking No. 1 in defensive rating, second in blocks, seventh in steals, and eighth in points allowed per game.
As long as he can stay on the floor, JJJ appears to be well on his way to earning his first of many Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks (+500)
Lopez, now in his 15th NBA season, is averaging a career-high 2.5 blocks per game. Let that sink in.
It’s pretty incredible to see what the 34-year-old big man has been able to accomplish this year in Milwaukee. On top of rejecting an absurd amount of shots, he’s also averaging 6.3 rebounds per game, which is his highest amount since the 2015-16 season.
The main reason Lopez is here, though, is because of how great his Bucks have been on defense this season. Despite giving up the second-most two-point attempts in the league, Milwaukee ranks third in two-point percentage, which is a massive credit to the job Lopez has done in the paint.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Contenders
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (+1800)
Antetokounmpo is always in contention for a number of awards, and Defensive Player of the Year is right up near the top. The Greek Freak is a five-time All-Defensive Team member and already won this award once in 2019-20.
A do-it-all defender, Antetokounmpo uses his elite size and speed to guard every position on the floor. There may not be a better disruptor in the league given his ability to intercept passes, send away shots at the rim, and lock up some of the very best scorers in the NBA.
As it stands, his Bucks rank sixth in the league in points allowed per game and third in defensive rating, while Antetokounmpo is averaging just under a steal and a block per game.
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat (+1800)
Adebayo’s case for Defensive Player of the Year is simple: He anchors what has long been one of the best defensive units in basketball. At some point, that needs to count for something — something more than three All-Defensive selections and no award to show for it.
Miami’s defense is beginning to trend in the right direction as well. The Heat were slipping a bit on that end of the floor to begin the year, but they now rank second in points allowed per game and fifth in defensive rating.
Adebayo plays the game like a point guard, but on the defensive end of the floor. The near-seven-footer is often out switching onto smaller players and guarding the perimeter, yet he’s still averaging about a block per game to go along with 1.1 steals.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Sleepers
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers (+2200)
To be honest, I’m not sure why Mobley isn’t higher on this list. The 21-year-old big is already one of the most versatile defenders in the league, and his 8.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 0.7 steals per game speak for themselves.
Mobley also happens to (arguably) be the best defender on what is perhaps the league’s best defensive team. The Cavaliers rank first in points allowed per game and second in defensive rating, and Mobley leads the team in blocks.
He’s unlikely to win this award at this rate, but do keep an eye on Mobley as the years go on. He’s bound to secure at least one of these in what should be a lengthy and successful career.
Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves (+5000)
Longtime Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert has found a new home in Minnesota. The franchise’s decision to acquire him was a bold one, and so far, I’m not so sure that it’s paying off.
The Timberwolves rank just 13th in defensive rating and 19th in points allowed per game, which is only marginally better than Minnesota did without him in 2021-22. Minnesota does rank fourth in steals and seventh in blocks, but Gobert is barely the team leader in rejections and places fifth in steals.
Gobert’s 11.5 rebounds are good for third in the league, but his 1.3 blocks per game — his lowest output since the 2013-14 season — only puts him at 15th.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Prediction
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
There’s no other choice but Jackson right now. The 23-year-old is racking up a handful of blocks on any given night and has established himself as one of the most intimidating defenders in the NBA.