Despite being 30 years old and an elite defender his entire career, Lakers big man Anthony Davis has never received a Defensive Player of the Year award. Davis’ injury history has undoubtedly affected his relative lack of accolades compared to his talent, as he’s only played more than 65 games in four out of his 11 seasons so far in his career.
The lack of games played is especially prevalent next season. The NBA recently passed a rule stating that, for players to be eligible for the coveted end-of-season awards, they must have played at least 65 games.
The main factor in Davis never receiving the award so far in his successful career has been his injury history. There’s optimism surrounding Davis’ current health and his ability to have a long season next year. Assuming that happens, he could make an excellent case for winning the award next season. Here are the three reasons Anthony Davis will win the 2023-24 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Reason No. 1: Stats and advanced ratings that support Anthony Davis’ case
In terms of relevant defensive stats, last season, Anthony Davis averaged a career-high 12.5 rebounds per game. To go along with his 12.5 rebounds, Davis also averaged 2.0 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. AD has averaged 10.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game for his career.
He’s consistently been one of the league’s best defenders; this is also evident by Davis’ RAPTOR rating – last season, he came in third at 4.7, only behind Alex Caruso and Brook Lopez. Davis’ ability as a defensive rim protector often goes underrated.
He even stepped up his game in the Lakers’ postseason run last season as the seventh seed in the Western Conference Finals. A significant yet underappreciated reason was Anthony Davis’ defensive capabilities. In the Lakers 16 games they played in the postseason, Davis increased his average to 14.1 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, and 1.4 blocks per game.
He’s one of the NBA’s best defenders, as evidenced last season, particularly during the Lakers’ postseason run when they played against elite offenses.