The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had a player win a regular season award since Lamar Odom won Sixth Man of the Year. This year, they have two players in the running for the most prestigious individual awards the league hands out.
LeBron James is an MVP frontrunner, though he may ultimately relinquish it to more singular stars like James Harden, Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. His teammate, however, may have already secured his Defensive Player of the Year award.
Davis had another incredible performance on Tuesday with 25 points and 10 rebounds in a win over the Western Conference heavyweight Nuggets. More importantly, his defense was once again incredible in helping hold Denver to just 96 points on their home court and several clutch stops on Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to ice the game.
The performance, which came with Davis needing an IV at halftime due to illness, prompted James to once again call AD the DPOy favorite (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll):
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 4, 2019
James was not the only Laker to take notice. Jared Dudley called it his “flu game” and Dwight Howard – no stranger to DPOY awards – spoke about how easy AD makes defense for his teammates (again h/t Faigen):
“In order for us to win, defense is where we have to hang our hats at. He’s been doing an amazing job of playing guards, playing bigs, getting blocks, getting steals and just doing all the little things,” Howard said “He’s getting big stops, he’s getting big rebounds and that’s what it takes to win that award.
“(He) makes it easy. You know you’ve got a guy who can play everything on the floor. You don’t have to be hesitant to switch or anything like that because you know that the guy who is playing defense is going to get a stop,” Howard continued. “We believe and trust that AD is going to do the best he can on the defensive end and we’re going to anchor that.”
Head coach Frank Vogel also said that he thinks Davis will win Defensive Player of the Year.
Of course, the season is still young and there are other deserving candidates. But with the Lakers boasting one of the best defenses in the league on top of an 18-3 record and everyone pointing to Davis as the biggest catalyst of that, it’s hard to argue that he’s running away with it.