Reason No. 3: Anthony Davis’ versatility separates him from other bigs
The top five defensive RAPTOR players from last season besides Anthony Davis include Alex Caruso, Brook Lopez, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Rudy Gobert. Caruso is a highly talented defensive guard that the Lakers likely should’ve kept. However, he only averaged 23.5 minutes played per game last season, which is needed to qualify for the DPOY award. According to the RAPTOR rating, the other Defensive Player of the Year contenders included bigs Lopez, Embiid, and Gobert.
Don’t get me wrong, they are all exceptional defenders and great rim-protectors. However, they are considered traditional centers because they are rim-protectors that only provide defensive value in the paint. They aren’t great at guarding out on the perimeter in switch situations.
What separates Anthony Davis from these other potential DPOY candidates for the 2023-24 season is his ability to protect the paint while guarding multiple positions. Caruso doesn’t play enough minutes or provide value as a rim-protector being a guard. Meanwhile, Lopez, Embiid, and Gobert need to be more agile to provide defensive value in terms of defensive switchability.
Anthony Davis is a unique and coveted NBA defender due to his ability to protect the paint while effectively switching out onto the perimeter and guarding multiple positions. At 6-foot-10, Davis also averaged over one steal per game last season. His size and versatility make Davis an extremely unique player and one of the top candidates to win the 2023-24 Defensive Player of the Year.