Brook Lopez Is Now The Favorite For NBA Defensive Player of the Year

rsz https behindthebuckpasscom wp content uploads getty images 2018 08 1435177340
rsz https behindthebuckpasscom wp content uploads getty images 2018 08 1435177340

As recently as two weeks ago, it seemed that Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies was going to run away with the Defensive Player of the Year award in the NBA. But due to a late surge by Brook Lopez, the tables have turned, according to the oddsmakers.

Jackson has been having an outstanding season defensively. His 3.2 blocks per game leads the league by a long shot, just as he was the leader last year. He averages a full steal as well, and displays a shot-changing ability that won’t show up on the stat sheet.

Brook Lopez overtakes Jaren Jackson Jr. For NBA DPOY Award

There was some controversy that Jackson was getting some home cooking from the stat keepers in Memphis. An internet detective on Reddit put together evidence of stat padding, that Jackson would average far better defensive numbers at home rather than on the road. While most of that conspiracy was put to rest, it is possible that it had at least some effect on his chances to win the DPOY award.

Or maybe it is just because Brook Lopez has been playing so well in the absence of Milwaukee’s best player. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been in and out of the lineup with a wrist injury lately, and the Bucks haven’t missed a beat, thanks in large part to Lopez.

The 31-year-old center is having his best statistical season in years. Lopez’s numbers are up across the board, including his minutes and usage, but he is making the most of his opportunity.

He makes his biggest impact on the defensive side, though. Lopez averages 2.5 blocks per game, well under Jackson’s average but good enough to be 3rd in the league. But his presence not only alters shots, but also the willingness of opposing teams to attack the basket.

NBA DPOY Odds Play
Brook Lopez -110 BetOnline logo
Jaren Jackson Jr. +120 BetOnline logo


Lopez Leading The Way With Giannis Out

One of his finest plays of the season came over the weekend in Golden State. The Warriors were down 3 with 30 seconds left and possession of the ball. They ran a beautiful play, and through a series of passes the ball ended up in the hands of Jordan Poole streaking toward the basket. It looked like he’d have an easy two points, until Lopez skied across the lane, getting his outstretched hand on the ball for what should have been the game-saving block.

The Bucks would turn the ball over just seconds later, and Steph Curry would make them pay in both crunch time and overtime, but Lopez had left his mark on the game.

He was sitting at +325 back in mid-February around the All-Star break, but Brook Lopez is now listed as the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson was once considered something of a runaway for the award as far as the odds are concerned, and he has gone from a -250 favorite to being a +120 underdog.

There is no one else who realistically has a shot, as Bam Adebayo is the player listed in third at a very distant +1200.

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