According to Bovada oddsmakers, Los Angeles Lakers power forward Anthony Davis now has lower odds to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. Davis had +700 odds of winning DPOY in late August. Now, the eight-time All-Star has the third-best odds (+800) of winning the award next season. Last season, he averaged 21.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks in 36 games.
While this doesn’t sound like big news, oddsmakers are considering the fact that Davis will be playing the 2021-22 season as the Lakers’ starting center. The nine-year veteran has played six seasons of his NBA career as a power forward.
Though, scoring-wise, his second-highest points average in a season was during the 2016-17 season, when he played center for the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis averaged 28 points that season. Nonetheless, these are offensive statistics, not defensive.
Furthermore, Davis averaged 2.8 blocks in the 2013-14 season, 2.9 blocks in the 2014-15 season and 2.6 blocks in the 2017-18 season. In each of these seasons, he played the power forward position. On the other hand, Davis earned a career-high season average 1.6 steals per game as a center in the 2018-19 season. Therefore, a fair argument can be made for and against Davis either way. This is typical for the offseason.
Additionally, the Illinois native has dealt with various injuries as well. In the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Davis suffered a groin injury in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns. He also sustained a sacral contusion in 2020. Not to mention, the 28-year-old played in only 36 of the 72 regular season games last season. The power forward had to play it safe due to his past Achilles and calf injuries.
Other top candidates for DPOY
Moreover, Rudy Gobert is aiming to win the award for the fourth time in five seasons, tying him with Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace for the most DPOY awards. Gobert possesses the best odds (+280) of winning the award next season.
Therefore, it is most logical for bettors to consider the two-time All-Star. The Utah Jazz center was selected NBA All-Defensive First-Team from 2017 through 2021. In the 2020-21 NBA season, Gobert averaged 14.3 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.7 blocks.
Another notable player possessing second-best odds (+350) of winning DPOY is Ben Simmons. Last season, the three-time All-Star averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 58 games played.
The Australian point guard has been mentioned in trade negotiations throughout the offseason. In the 2019-20 season, he led the NBA in steals per game (2.1). The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to trade Simmons during the regular season. But, who knows for sure.