The San Antonio Spurs’ small forward Kawhi Leonard has won the 2015-2016 Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was the leader of the league’s best overall defensive team. Leonard has now won the award in back-to-back seasons, which is a big milestone. He’s the first non-center to be named the DPOY in consecutive seasons since Dennis Rodman did it back in 1990 and 1991.
Kawhi led the way in the voting with 84 first-place votes and 547 total points from the voting panel. Draymond Green was the runner-up for the second straight season, as he received 44 first-place votes and 421 total points. Coming in third was Hassan Whiteside, who received 2 first-place votes and 83 total points. Players were given five points for first-place votes, three points for second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes.
The NBA is becoming less of a center dominated defensive league. Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green were the only two players that received a lot of votes for this award, and neither are centers, even though Green was allowed to be considered as a center (he of course isn’t naturally a 5). That shows the evolution of defensive focus these days in the NBA.
Leonard was the leader of the Spurs’ defense, which gave up only 92.9 points per game. Kawhi Leonard made quite the difference for the unit, producing a +4.3 points-per-100 possession average. That basically means the team gives up 4.3 more points per 100 possessions when Leonard isn’t on the court. That’s a huge difference. Leonard averaged 1.78 steals, 5.5 defensive rebounds, and .99 blocks per game.
DeAndre Jordan finished fourth in the voting, as he received 50 points. Paul Millsap finished fifth with 21 points, Avery Bradley finished sixth with 14 points, Rudy Gobert finished seventh with 13 points, Tony Allen finished eighth with 5 points, Anthony Davis finished ninth with 4 points, and Andre Drummond finished tenth with 3 points.