Anthony Davis voted runner up for Defensive player of the Year

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis led the Lakers’ elite defense (Kim Klement/Pool photo via Getty Images)

Anthony Davis was voted runner up for Defensive Player of the Year to Giannis Antetokounmpo, falling just short of his season long goal, it was announced on Tuesday. Even while not winning the award he was a big part of helping the Lakers hold the third best defense all season. Davis had been named to six all defensive teams, but never had been named defensive player of the year. He would have joined Michael Cooper (1987) as the only other Laker to win it.

Davis just had a monster year at the defensive end. Putting up 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals to go along with his 26 points a game. The Lakers held a 106.4 defensive rating with Davis on the floor, posting a plus five net rating. He ranked third in the league in blocks, and sixth among all forwards in steals.

The versatility Davis provides is everything for the Lakers defense. It’s what the scheme is built around. Having an elite defensive coach in Frank Vogel and a player with Davis’ skillset has been a masterful combination. The guards for the team funnel everything into their bigs with Davis usually having the most help responsibility. As a result, Davis leads the team in contests from both the three point line and two point field goals. His crunch time defense also has been huge for the team.

He can help from all over the floor, and takes the challenge of defending the other teams best player at times. His ability to switch on to guards in the pick and roll is what turns the Lakers defense from good to elite.

Davis sets the tone for them on the defensive end. With the loss of Avery Bradley, it’s even more crucial that he leads in that category. He’s the main reason the Lakers can zig while the league zags and start two bigs. Most importantly, the Lakers have big goals this year and Davis will have to continue his stellar play to achieve them.

In the end, Antetokounmpo won the award fairly handily with Davis only securing 14 first place votes for the annual award.

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