Of all the annual awards, the defensive player of the year race appears to be the most difficult to peg.
Joakim Noah, the reigning recipient of the top defender award, has been hobbled all season and the Chicago Bulls have disappointed on that end. A pair of Warriors might split votes in defensive studs Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. It's hard to reconcile Anthony Davis' block totals with New Orleans' bottom-five defensive ranking. Rudy Gobert might be the league's best rim protector, but has only recently started for his own team. Serge Ibaka is a perennial candidate. Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan.
It's an extremely tough ballot this season. But if you ask Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, the choice is an easy one: DeAndre Jordan.
"He's clearly the defensive player of the year," Rivers said on Sunday. "If anybody else gets that award, we need to have an investigation. ... What he's doing defensively, if he was doing that offensively, he would be recognized as the MVP or one of them, but because it's defense, no one notices."
Maybe "no one notices" because there's just not much that stands out. Rivers has been known to get out the pom-poms for his players. In fact, Rivers already had launched the Jordan DPOY campaign in June, saying, "100 percent, I think that's what he will be" when all is said and done in 2014-15. A few days ago, Rivers claimed that "D.J. is the best defensive player in the league. I just really believe that."
Unfortunately for Rivers, Jordan's DPOY case isn't much of a case at all. This screams confirmation bias on Rivers' part more than anything. All evidence suggests Jordan is a good defensive player; not a great one, and certainly not the best. Let's run through all the reasons.